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Camp Roberts considered as possible site to house unaccompanied migrant children

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Posted at 11:55 AM, Apr 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 00:15:18-04

Camp Roberts in northern San Luis Obispo County is being considered as a possible emergency intake site for unaccompanied migrant children, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The California National Guard told KSBY News, "The Department of Defense has received a request for assistance from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to temporarily house unaccompanied migrant children. Specifically, HHS has requested use of an area of land at Camp Roberts, California."

Officials have not said when this could happen or how many children could be housed at the base.

The latest emergency intake site opened this week at Fort Bliss, Texas. Children age 17 and under who are unaccompanied by parents or other legal guardians, have no lawful immigrant status in the United States, and were apprehended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are being transferred there. Hundreds of children are also staying at the San Diego Convention Center.

HHS says many of the children seeking asylum are from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

The HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is legally required to provide for the care and custody of all unaccompanied migrant children until they are united with a parent or relative while their immigration cases proceed. ORR operates a network of over 200 facilities and programs in 22 states.

HHS says the impact of these shelters on the local community is minimal and that the children remain under staff supervision at all times with on-site security 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

All children are also tested for COVID-19 before being transported to the site, followed by tests every three days.

At this time, there are 12,900 children in ORR care.

Health and Human Services says it will notify state and local officials as well as members of Congress when a final determination is made about the possible use of Camp Roberts as an intake site.

According to the Department of Defense, "If provided, this support would be on a fully-reimbursable basis, and DoD would only provide this kind of support where it has no impact on military readiness and its ability to conduct its primary missions."