The Department of Defense is cataloguing its bases and barracks to find temporary housing for hundreds of thousands of poor Central Americans who are now believed to be migrating toward the Texas border.
The DoD-wide search for migrant housing was corroborated by a Texas radio station, WOAI, which reported that Pentagon officials have “asked military bases around the country to find 180 barracks, holding centers, and other facilities to house the flood which is not expected to stop coming any time soon.”
So far, officials have used a few military bases to temporarily house Central American migrants — mothers and children, as well as unaccompanied youths and children — until they’re catalogued, given health checks and then released, often to relatives living illegally in the United States.
The low-skilled Spanish-speaking migrants are supposed to eventually report back to the federal government for backlogged court hearings on their residency requests.
The new Pentagon effort may be intended to find enough housing to detain the migrants until they’re processed through the immigration courts.
If the migrants are on military bases once the court decision is concluded, they can be easily repatriated if they don’t get permission to live in the United States.
Up to 290,000 Central American migrants have already crossed the border. So far, some migrants have been released after getting federal “notices to appear” — known as “permisos” — to live legally in the United States until their claims for residency and asylum are approved or rejected.
If their legal claims are rejected by immigration judges, they’ll likely stay in the United States anyway. That’s partly because President Barack Obama has directed immigration police to largely ignore illegals who do not commit major federal crimes.
In 2013, for example, Obama’s agencies deported less than 0.2 percent of illegals who had not committed a major crime.
On June 30, Obama suggested to Latino lobbies that he will further reduce enforcement of immigration laws for illegal immigrants who have been living in the country for several years. However, that campaign-trail promise is likely to spur even more migrants to cross the border.
That’s a risky policy for Obama, because polls show that most Americans, including Hispanics, mostly blame Obama for the border meltdown. If he loses support among middle-class Hispanics, he’s more likely to lose the Senate to the GOP in November.
Roughly six million of the 12 million illegals in the United States are working in mostly low-skilled jobs.
The illegal immigrants who have found jobs in cities and who avoid committing felonies are rarely deported, even when judges deny their request for asylum and residency.
“If you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero,” John Sandweg, Obama’s former head of the Immigration and Customers Enforcement agency, told the Los Angeles Times in April.