A happy holiday news report by the Washington Times suggests that as many as 400 children have been authorized by U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to receive temporary housing at Holloman Air Force Base in the Alamogordo community in New Mexico, to allow them to be reunited with family who have already come from several different Central American countries, including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
During the time the children have been in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, they have received health check-ups vaccinations and have been screened for communicable diseases. Base officials are reportedly preparing for what looks like a January arrival for the kids.
According to Carter, the children — who are considered refugees — will be housed in a building that was formerly used by the 4th Space Control Squadron after the building is converted into a dorm to meet their needs. There they will await reunification with their families already in the U.S.
Over the last two years there has been a growing trend of providing housing for children of Central and South America by utilizing military bases that are no longer operational.
According to Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce President Mike Espiritu, health department officials have already visited Holloman to evaluate the site. “I’ll be the contact on this perspective. I’ll be working directly with HHS and Holloman and help them connect the dots with the things they need to take care of these young people,” he said. “We’ll be meeting with Holloman next week, and hopefully we’ll have more information that we can provide to the public. “
Espiritu is optimistic that this approach will make a difference both for the children and for others who are partnering to make life better for them. He said, “I support the government and Holloman in whatever they want to do [to help], and the community should be supportive as well.”
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