Decision over use of Fort Bliss as a housing site for unaccompanied children expected in ‘days not weeks’
WASHINGTON — ABC News reports the Pentagon’s top spokesperson, John Kirby said he expects a decision over the use of two military locations in Texas, including Fort Bliss, as housing sites for unaccompanied migrant children to come from the department in “days not weeks”.
Kirby said the Pentagon is still analyzing the request that came from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the use of Joint Base San Antonio and Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. Kirby said at Wednesday afternoon’s press briefing that HHS has requested the use of the locations through the end of the calendar year.
He noted that the request for Fort Bliss is likely for temporary structures to house the children that would be placed on used land at the Army post.
Kirby also confirmed to ABC News there was a site visit at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado to see if it could serve as another site for HHS to house unaccompanied children.
ABC News reports he referred questions about how many children might be housed at each facility to HHS.
Kirby stressed that the care of the children, as with past requests, will be handled by HHS personnel, though the Department of Defense may assist in contracting personnel. However, what’s different this time is housing children under Covid restrictions.
“We haven’t done it in a pandemic,” said Kirby. “So one of the challenges is going to be, how do you deal with the potential for Covid and the impact of infections in the population of the children, but also at the installation. So we have to factor in what’s going on with the pandemic that’s a unique challenge that, that we haven’t faced before.”
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