WASHINGTON, July 23, 2014 —
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has authorized more temporary housing to shelter an additional 5,000 unaccompanied alien children anticipated to arrive in the United States from Central America in the coming months.
Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said Hagel approved the additional space last week and also extended through January what had been a four-month mission by the Defense Department to house children fleeing violence and crime in Central America.
“Today, there are currently 2,500 children that we are assisting. We have not yet determined where these additional 5,000 spaces will come from,” Warren told reporters.
The Department of Health and Human Services has requested that the Defense Department provide the accommodations, which currently include space at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, and Naval Base Ventura County in California.
Health and Human Services officials anticipate that as many as 60,000 unaccompanied children will arrive in the United States this year, up from just under 6,600 in fiscal year 2011.