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Plans for Immigrant 'Detention Centers' Revealed at Military Sites Around the U.S.
Philip Elliott and W.J. Hennigan report:
The U.S. Navy is preparing plans to construct sprawling detention centers for tens of thousands of immigrants on remote bases in California, Alabama and Arizona, escalating the military’s task in implementing President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy for people caught crossing the Southern border, according to a copy of a draft memo obtained by TIME.
Phyllis L. Bayer, the assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment for the Navy Secretary's approval. The memo anticipates a request from the Department of Homeland Security.
The memo includes details on the exact locations of the proposed detention centers. Detention centers would hold 25,000 immigrants at abandoned airfields "just outside the Florida panhandle near Mobile, Alabama, at Navy Outlying Field Wolf in Orange Beach, Alabama, and nearby Navy Outlying Field Silverhill."
"The memo also proposes a camp for as many as 47,000 people at former Naval Weapons Station Concord, near San Francisco; and another facility that could house as many as 47,000 people at Camp Pendleton, the Marines’ largest training facility located along the Southern California coast," according to the article. "The planning memo proposes further study of housing an undetermined number of migrants at the Marine Corps Air Station near Yuma, Arizona."
The plan expects to pay $233 million to build and operate the "temporary" facilities for six months. There are a few more key reported facts included in the article, including that these new facilities will be far from the first occasion for the United States to use military bases to house immigrants. "In 2014, the Obama Administration placed around 7,700 migrant children on bases in Texas, California and Oklahoma. The temporary shelters were shuttered after four months."
For commentary on the draft memo, see an article by Ed Kilgore that briefly discusses the potential reasons for building these facilities on military sites.