(Headline USA) As President Joe Biden continues to face criticism for the growing crisis on the southern border, U.S. military bases may now have to open their doors to unaccompanied immigrant children.
The Pentagon on Friday approved the use of Camp Roberts to temporarily house migrant children traveling alone, according to a defense official.
The decision comes as the number of illegal immigrants attempting to cross north into the U.S. hits the highest numbers in ears.
Biden’s approval numbers have sank on immigration, and he has taken fire for detaining children in the same facilities that Democrats blasted President Donald Trump for using.
It was not immediately clear if or how many children could be placed at the camp, which is located along the Salinas River almost directly between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Saturday that the camp is “under active consideration.”
The department has not yet finalized its decision.
“When HHS decides to activate an Emergency Influx Site for unaccompanied migrant children we will notify state and local authorities as well as members of Congress,” the department said in a statement.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had requested the use of the base, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed Thursday.
The California National Guard did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.
Border authorities encountered more than 9,000 children without a parent in February, the highest single month since May 2019, when more than 11,000 unaccompanied minors came to the border.
After being processed by the Border Patrol, they are transferred to Health and Human Services.
Eventually they will be released to a sponsor, usually a parent or close relative.
Unlike adults in many situations, all unaccompanied minors are allowed to stay in the U.S.
That dynamic has prompted many parents to either send kids on the journey to America alone, or get to the border and let them go the rest of the way.
Most end up at least temporarily in shelters that are currently way beyond capacity.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.