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Pentagon confirms Fort Lee under consideration to temporarily house influx of migrant children

The sign at the Lee Gate on Fort Lee in Prince George, Va. (File Photo/TNS)

The Defense Department said Saturday that Fort Lee is on a list of potential locations to temporarily house unaccompanied migrant children coming into the U.S. from the southwest border, but whether or not the kids would be coming here has not been publicly determined.

In an email to The Progress-Index, a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed that the Prince George County post had been reviewed as a site, but did not say exactly how far the consideration has gone.

“Upon request from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Army coordinated a site assessment at Fort Lee, Virginia for HHS personnel to determine if certain facilities at Fort Lee may be suitable for providing temporary housing for Unaccompanied Children,” the statement read. It did not elaborate, and a request for further comment about exact places on post has not yet been answered.

A spokesman for Fort Lee deferred comment to the Pentagon.

A spokesperson for Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, also confirmed the site visit at Fort Lee and said his office “will stay in close contact with HHS to ensure we have the latest information.”

Under the direction of HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, these temporary housing locations are where migrant children not accompanied by a parent or guardian stay while HHS works to either reunite them with their families or find a U.S. family willing to sponsor them.

Military posts have been used as temporary shelters for children before, according to published reports.

The news comes after President Joe Biden was briefed last week that as many as 117,000 unaccompanied children could migrate into the United States this year. The immigration issue has been a hot-button political issue since the Trump administration and seems to haven only intensified in the early months of the Biden presidency.

Republicans have criticized the White House for reversing Trump moves at restricting immigrant crossings at the border and expelling those who make it through back to their countries, while Democrats continue their arguments that chidden were being separated from their parents and kept in the equivalent of cages by the Trump administration.

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