The Department of Health and Human Services will review the possibility of sending unaccompanied migrant children to Fort Benning in Georgia, amid an uptick in families and children crossing the southern border, an agency spokesperson told CNN.
HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement is tasked with caring for migrant children who come to the United States unaccompanied and placing them with a sponsor in the country. But a swell of migrants crossing the southern border has overwhelmed the department’s facilities.
The office receives referrals from the Department of Homeland Security, which tries to move unaccompanied children out of its custody within 72 hours. As of April 30, the office has been sent around 40,900 children this fiscal year, putting the agency on track to “care for the largest number of (unaccompanied children) in the program’s history,” according to the spokesperson.
HHS has requested the assistance of the Defense Department in previous years. In fiscal year 2018, for example, HHS conducted preliminary site visits to three sites in Texas and one in Arkansas.
It’s not clear whether Fort Benning will be used or when HHS would send children there.