The Trump administration is reportedly making preparations to warehouse illegal immigrant children on military bases — a sign plans are moving forward to split up families who sneak across the border.
The Washington Post cited email notification sent to Defense Department staffers detailing the preparations.
According to the notification, the Department of Health and Human Services will visit four military installations in Texas and Arkansas in the next two weeks to evaluate if they can be used for child shelters.
The bases would be used to hold children under 18 who arrive at the border without an adult relative — or after the government has separated them from their parents.
It is just a preliminary assessment, the Post reported.
“No decisions have been made at this time,” the email states, according to the Post.
An official at HHS told the Post the agency has the bed space to hold 10,571 children in its network of 100 foster-care facilities, which are at 91 percent capacity.
The Trump administration’s crackdown pould push thousands more children into government care, according to the Post.
Border agents arrested more than 100,000 illegal border-crossers in March and April, the highest monthly totals since President Donald Trump took office, the Post reported.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has already vowed the government will file criminal charges against anyone crossing the border illegally, including parents traveling with their children.
“If you’re smuggling a child, then we’re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law,” Sessions said in a speech last week.
“If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally,” he added. “It’s not our fault that somebody does that.”
There is precedent for using military bases to house illegal immigrant children, the Post reported: The Obama administration used bases in Oklahoma, Texas, and California to shelter more than 7,000 children over a period of several months.
Three of the bases are in Texas — the Army’s Fort Bliss, Goodfellow Air Force Base, and Dyess Air Force Base. Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas also will be evaluated, according to the Pentagon communications and HHS.