The Vicious Circle of Trump's Immigration Policy: the DoD Doesn't Want to Pay for Migrant Housing
WASHINGTON — July 10, 2018
The U.S. Defense Department announced Monday that it would not pay for housing some 32,000 detained immigrants whom the Trump administration wants to be sheltered at military installations as part of his “zero tolerance” enforcement policy on America’s border with Mexico.
The department also does not want to be involved in caring for the migrants, a Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Jamie Davis said.
“The DoD is not going to have any involvement, any interaction with the children or the families,” Davis said.
This responsibility should belong to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The other department's representatives did not respond to the announcement.
According to the DoD, of the 11,800 minors who currently in Health and Human Services custody, 80 percent are teenagers . There are also some 20,000 unaccompanied children.
Housing migrants at military installations is not a new development. During the Obama administration in 2014, the Defense Department sheltered about 16,000 migrant children after they were detained.
Although the numbers are now significantly higher than in 2014, the allocation of responsibility between the departments of Defense and Health and Human Services is expected to be similar.
The Department of Health and Human Services promised in turn to reimbursed the Pentagon for the cost of the children's housing.
“If we are using [Defense Department] people, our machinery, then the expectation is DHS or HHS will reimburse us,” Davis reaffirmed. "The two agencies would also provide food and medical care for the migrants."
Yet before that can happen, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services must send out a "notice of intent." Until then, the Defense Department won't allow immigrants into the area.
"We'll be ready to provide facilities within 45 days of this event," Davis said.
Earlier this month Trump announced that he had halted his immigration policy, and asked the Pentagon to find places where family members could be housed together. Of all the possible places, Military Instillation were chosen.
Perhaps this is due to the fact that the military strongly supported Trump's policy, whereas it was heavily criticized by many other departments and ordinary people.
Accommodation for migrants, as well as their deportation at this point may be delayed indefinitely. As a result, if the process is too long, migrants may be accused of not wanting to leave the area voluntarily. Those could extend their detention and provoke U.S. authorities to divide families.