Pentagon approves request to house migrant children at two bases in Texas
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Wednesday that it had approved a request to house unaccompanied migrant children at two U.S. military facilities in Texas, amid a sharp rise in migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Just two months into office, President Joe Biden is struggling to get a handle on a burgeoning migration challenge along the U.S. border with Mexico - a problem the Democrat blamed on "the somewhat draconian" policies of his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, who left office with his border wall incomplete.
U.S. officials are battling to house and process an increasing number of unaccompanied children, many of whom have been stuck in jail-like border stations for days while they await placement in overwhelmed government-run shelters.
In a statement, the Pentagon said it had approved the request from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to temporarily house the children at Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland and Fort Bliss.
"HHS will maintain custody and responsibility for the well-being and support for these children at all times on the installation," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
He added that the children would be housed in a vacant dormitory and at temporary housing facilities.
Two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the HHS request had been to house up to 5,000 children at Fort Bliss and another 300 at the other base, though it was not immediately clear if the request had been approved in full.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Jason Lange; Editing by Christopher Cushing)
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