MOSCOW, July 22 (RIA Novosti) - United States senators oppose housing unaccompanied immigrant children in the United States, Courier-Journal reported.
"The example needs to go back to Central America that we're a welcoming country but we just can't have everybody coming here. ... We can't be a lawless country," Courier-Journal quoted Senator Rand Paul as saying.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said it will not use an underutilized military base at Fort Knox to house immigrant children who arrive at the US border without their guardians, unlike earlier proposed, Courier-Journal reported.
"HHS' Administration for Children and Families has no plans to use Fort Knox as a temporary Unaccompanied Alien Children program shelter," Courier-Journal quoted HHS spokesman Kenneth Wolfe as saying in a statement.
The army base in Fort Knox, Kentucky, was earlier proposed to host immigrant children as it has a lot of available space due to the recent disbanding of the 3rd Combat Brigade, 1st Infantry Division and the base’s last combat unit.
According to the HHS, most children spend just 35 days in the temporary shelters, before they are placed with sponsors or family members. However, senators speak against indefinite housing of immigrant children.
Courier-Journal cited a spokesman for another senator, Mitch McConnell, who said, “Senator McConnell strongly believes that we should secure the border, treat the children humanely and return them immediately, therefore, these children should not be housed indefinitely throughout the US."
A Colorado facility, located miles from anywhere was another place proposed to house immigrant children from Central America, CBS4 reported.
The Arapahoe County in Colorado runs programs under contract at Ridge View Youth Services Center in Watkins. The facility now houses 185 troubled youths in its 500-bed capacity facility.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, in his interview to CBS4, said that children could be sent to Colorado if they had many relatives in the area and could be placed with them later on.
However, the question of where immigrant children will be housed remains open. According to the US government’s Office of Refugee Resettlement, facilities to host immigrant children will be selected only after careful evaluation and a further review.
The 2008 law, which passed both chambers of Congress by unanimously and was signed by then President George W. Bush, requires the Department of Homeland Security to accept immigrant children and turn them over to HHS, which should care for them, find them safe housing and advocates who will identify possible ways to stay in the country.
The Obama administration has been criticized for its slow response ongoing immigration problems, as more than 55,000 children from Central America arrived to the United States this year searching for a better life.