The Trump administration is looking into another move that would separate immigrant families who cross the southern border, according to The Washington Post.
The move would split children from their parents after they crossed the US border from Mexico illegally and comes as the administration has increased its crack down on illegal immigrants after border agents said March and April had the highest monthly totals of illegal immigration since Donald Trump became president. "I never thought I'd see this in the United States of America", House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said at the time. "You've broken US law".
The sources discussed the plan Tuesday on condition of anonymity because it has not been made public or made final. The official said DHS has not provided projections for how many additional children to expect.
Trump officials say they are moving forcefully to halt a sharp increase in the number of families crossing the border illegally this spring, many of whom are Central Americans seeking asylum.
But an uptick in Border Patrol arrests through March and April has had President Donald Trump upset with his secretary of homeland security, Kirstjen Nielsen, over the apparent increase in immigration.
Trump has reportedly ordered to "close" the borders over the increasing number of immigrants attempting to cross in the USA, putting the blame on Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Nielsen, who has led the agency since December, came under attack from Democratic senators days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions said a "zero tolerance" policy toward people entering the country illegally could lead to more families being split up while parents are prosecuted. The Washington Post reported that, aside from being held on military bases, some of the separated children could end up in foster care.
Illegal immigrant children are often separated from their parents for their own welfare, or because their parents are facing criminal charges. Rather, Nielsen said, if a person crosses the border illegally: "We will refer you for prosecution". "It's not our fault that somebody does that". The agency conducts background checks on potential sponsors for the minors, and in 85 percent of cases the children are released to a parent or other adult relative already present in the United States, the official said.
This would not be the first time immigrant children were housed at military bases. At the peak of the 2014 child migration crisis, the Obama administration used bases in Oklahoma, Texas and California to shelter more than 7,000 children over a period of several months.
Critics of the family separation practices denounce the practice as heartless and cruel, saying it inflicts additional trauma on families fleeing for their lives from Central America's bloody gang wars.
President Trump has railed against his administration officials about the increased illegal immigration numbers.
It's not clear whether the troops could be assigned to the bases where children will be sheltered. Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas also will be evaluated, according to the Pentagon communications and HHS. When the military has loaned space at its facilities in the past, HHS has reimbursed the Defense Department and the military has had little to do with the operation.