As the Obama administration downsizes our military, it is finding new uses for vacant Department of Defense facilities: Housing the surge of unaccompanied minors (UAMs) who have been surging across our borders is one of them.
In response to a request from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which cares for UAMs after they arrive, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has directed Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico, to house up to 400 UAMs beginning in January.
It is unclear when the UAMs will arrive at the Air Force base. According to Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce President Mike Espiritu, who is the primary point of contact for the UAM housing, “We are not sure when kids will begin to arrive, they usually give a 30-day notice, and the impression is that the 30-day notice has already begun this month, so it will happen for sure sometime in January.” Local officials have also not been told how long they will stay, even though they may become responsible for providing education and other social services to their unannounced guests.
Needless to say, many other communities that are home to decommissioned military bases may find themselves in a similar situation as the administration carries out its policies of resettling large numbers of UAMs around the country.
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