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Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

Government closing emergency child immigrant shelters

By Alicia A. Caldwell, Associated Press

Published: Mon, Aug. 4 1:00 p.m. MDT

 In this June 23, 2014 file photo, a temporary shelter for unaccompanied minors who have entered the country illegally is seen at Lackland Air Force Base, in San Antonio. The U.S. government is closing emergency shelters at military base shelters in Texas, Oklahoma and California being used to temporarily house unaccompanied immigrant children caught crossing the border.

In this June 23, 2014 file photo, a temporary shelter for unaccompanied minors who have entered the country illegally is seen at Lackland Air Force Base, in San Antonio. The U.S. government is closing emergency shelters at military base shelters in Texas, Oklahoma and California being used to temporarily house unaccompanied immigrant children caught crossing the border.

(Eric Gay, File, Associated Press)

WASHINGTON — The government said Monday it will soon close three emergency shelters it established at U.S. military bases to temporarily house children caught crossing the Mexican border alone. It said fewer children were being caught and other shelters will be adequate.

A shelter in Oklahoma at Fort Sill is expected to close as early as Friday, the Health and Human Services Department said. Shelters in Texas at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and in California at Naval Base Ventura County-Port Hueneme will wrap up operations in the next two to eight weeks, agency spokesman Kenneth Wolfe said. About 7,700 children had been housed at the three military bases since shelters there opened in May and early June. They stayed an average of 35 days.

Since Oct. 1 more than 57,000 unaccompanied children, mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, have been caught crossing the Mexican border illegally.

A 2008 law requires that unaccompanied child immigrants from countries that don't border the United States be handed over to the Health and Human Services Department within 72 hours of being apprehended. The children are cared for by the government until they can be reunited with a relative or another sponsor in the United States while they await a deportation hearing in immigration court.

The crush of Central American children caught at the border in recent months has strained resources across the government and prompted President Barack Obama to ask Congress to approve an emergency $3.7 billion spending bill to deal with what he described as a humanitarian crisis. Congress adjourned for the August recess without acting on the request.

Last month the Homeland Security Department reported that the number of child immigrants crossing the border alone had started to decline, from as many as 2,000 each week in June to about 500 each week in mid-July. Administration officials said at the time that multiple factors likely contributed to the decline.

The number of people caught crossing the border illegally typically declines during the hottest summer months.

Administration officials have said as many 90,000 child immigrants could cross the border by the end of the budget year in September.

The military base shelters could reopen if the number of young border crossers spikes again in the near future, Wolfe said.

Associated Press reporter Amy Taxin in Santa Ana, California contributed to this report. Follow Alicia A. Caldwell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/acaldwellap

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1. worf
Mcallen, TX,
Aug. 4, 2014

Are these children fleeing violence, or coming for free goodies?

2. Fitness Freak
Salt Lake City, UT,
Aug. 4, 2014

"worf" FREE goodies. With the emphasis on FREE.

It costs them 5-10k to pay the coyotes to get here - so they......somehow manage to come up with that amount.

Once they're here - they are "home free". Free food, transportation, medical, etc.

IF the violence was so bad - the Mormon church would be pulling out their missionaries and the government would be closing embassies.

3. Moderate
Salt Lake City, UT,
Aug. 4, 2014

Yes worf, these children face violence and being abducted into child prostitution rings. "Free goodies?" Grow up.

4. RichardB
Murray, UT,
Aug. 4, 2014

They came for the amnesty Obama's DACA waiver promised. And if we don't stop it now, many more will come. The months of July and August are slow because of the heat. It's not because it's stopping.

See the June 20th edition of this paper, for "Biden flies to Central America amid migrant crisis"

"After weeks of insistence that criminal violence was responsible for the surge of Central American migrants, the U.S. has begun a regional public-relations campaign to fight the widespread belief in Central America that children and families will be allowed to stay in the U.S. if they are caught by the Border Patrol.

That belief has been fueled both by migrant smugglers seeking more clients, and by calls home from children and families who have been released by the thousands in recent years, with notices to appear in immigration court, because there are no facilities to hold them."

5. Brio
Alpine, UT,
Aug. 4, 2014

@ Moderate:

I keep hearing similar accusations as to the one you just made. But you, like the others, never offer any evidence whatsoever for those accusations. And until credible evidence is given, its nothing but political hearsay. And at this point, that's all we can or should treat it as... especially considering Obama's strong leanings toward open amnesty for these probable would-be democrats. The left is politically motivated to accept those types of rumors without proof.

If they truly warrant refugee status, they should present whatever evidence they have to the American Embassy in their home countries. If they lack credible evidence, then their next most likely move would be to crash our borders.