Salvadorian immigrant Stefany Marjorie, 8, watches as a U.S. Border Patrol agent records family information on July 24 in Mission, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)
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The U.S. government is winding down its use of Defense Department installations to temporarily house undocumented children, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services told Military Times.
The temporary shelter at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, is expected to be closed by Friday and the shelters at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and Naval Base Ventura County, California, will end operations over the next two to eight weeks, said Kenneth Wolfe.
“We are able to take this step because we have proactively expanded capacity to care for children in standard shelters, which are significantly less costly facilities,” Wolfe said in an email Monday to Military Times. “At the same time, we have seen a decrease in the number of children crossing the southwest border.”
The shelters at the three military bases have housed more than 7,700 children since May, Wolfe said. If the number of undocumented children crossing the border increases, the U.S. government may re-open the shelters on the three bases, he said.
Currently, a total of roughly 700 children are being housed at all three bases, said Air Force Lt. Col. Thomas Crosson, a spokesman for the Defense Department.