The Federal government is tapping U.S. military bases left-right-and-center as approved housing for the thousands of Central American youngsters that have successfully, but illegally, crossed into the United States. Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in Washington State, was notified yesterday that it could be one of them.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has been in talks with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Department of Defense regarding where to place the underage detainees. J.B.L.M. has been mum on the topic, although the Army post does have antiquated vacant barracks from WWII that are unused at this time.
The official numbers of these undocumented and unaccompanied children is as unstable as the situation itself; numbers go as high as an expected 60,000 of them by year’s end.
Currently, Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla., is housing approximately 600 of the illegal children and Gov. Mary Fallin stated last week the children ages 12-17 are in “good shape and being well cared for.”
On the flip side, and pretty much accusing the federal government of being spineless, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has toughened up security in his state, using the military's own term of "surge" of Texas agents to stop the flood of illegals. Last week he spoke out:
"Texas can't afford to wait for Washington to act on this crisis, and we will not sit idly by while the safety and security of our citizens are threatened."
The situation has become so out-of-control and neglected by the federal government that unofficial critics have suggested that UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund get involved. The New York headquartered international organization provides “long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries.”
The sheer numbers and overwhelming assistance needed for the children certainly makes this a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. The skill and expertise of UNICEF could be invaluable. Although the United States is not a developing country, the countries of origin of these children qualify; Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.