Possible placement of migrant children at West Texas military bases draw mixed reactions
BROWNWOOD, Texas —
As the Trump Administration considers using three military bases in Texas to shelter migrant children, some people in the communities surrounding the military bases in question have mixed views on the administration's proposal.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that the federal government had listed Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene and Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo as possible locations to house children who have crossed over the border into the United States illegally.
In response to questions from KTXS News, the United States Department of Health and Human Services stated that it routinely evaluates potential locations for the temporary sheltering of undocumented child immigrants.
Sammie Stewart of Blanket spent 30 years working for the United States Border Patrol and he believes that the United States must defend its borders with foreign countries.
"Mr. Trump is advocating, if they're lawbreakers, put them in jail, get them out of here and that's the way it should be," Stewart said.
Raul Garcia, who was raised in Brownwood and considers himself retire, has a different point of view than Stewart on the situation.
"For me personally, who is an immigrant from Mexico, it's a heartless, immoral and tragic thing for our country to be considering," Garcia said.
According to the HHS, the American taxpayer will foot the bill for "costly programs" until the United States Congress can close dangerous loopholes in the United States' immigration laws.
"Our tax dollars have to take care of them," Stewart said. "And I feel sorry for them. But, I still feel sorry for our children here in this country."
Garcia said that people need to remember that these migrants are human beings.
"These people are human beings who are being killed and tortured," Garcia said.
HHS stated that the migrant children are "vulnerable to human trafficking, exploitation and abuse."
The Trump Administration will be visiting the military bases that are being proposed as locations to house migrant children during the next two weeks.
KTXS News reached out to Dyess Air Force Base and Goodfellow Air Force Base for comment and while Dyess referred KTXS News to the HHS, Goodfellow never provided a response.
Below is the full statement from the United States Department of Health and Human Services that was provided to KTXS News:
The Office of Refugee Resettlement at HHS’ Administration for Children and Families is responsible and required to care for minors who are in the country illegally without a parent or guardian. Operating this program requires routinely evaluating the needs and capacity of an existing network of approximately 100 shelters in 14 states. Additional properties with existing infrastructure are routinely being identified and evaluated by federal agencies as potential locations for temporary sheltering.
The lack of parental protection, and the hazardous journey they take, make unaccompanied alien children vulnerable to human trafficking, exploitation and abuse. In some cases, many violent gangs, including MS-13, are exploiting loopholes in U.S. laws to bring gang members into the United States or recruit unaccompanied alien children once placed with a sponsor. For these and many other reasons, the Trump Administration has been calling on Congress to close dangerous loopholes in U.S. immigration laws. Until these laws are fixed, the American taxpayer is paying the bill for costly programs that aggravate the problem and put children in dangerous situations.