Troop readiness concerns have prompted officials to decide against Fort Benning, Ga., as a site to temporarily house unaccompanied children who were apprehended after illegally crossing the southern border, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported Wednesday.
“It was pulled from the list over concerns over potential readiness impacts,” Maj. Chris Mitchell, a Pentagon spokesman said.
On Tuesday the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families announced that the Fort Benning, near Columbus, Ga., and Malmstrom Air Force Base near Great Falls, Mont., would not be sheltering unaccompanied children.
Fort Sill, Okla., north of Lawton, has been notified to prepare to house up to 1,400 children, according to the Journal-Constitution report.
The decisions came after HHS and DOD officials toured Fort Benning, Fort Sill and Malmstrom last week.
Military installations have previously housed unaccompanied children, according to the report.
From 2012-2017 nearly 16,000 unaccompanied children were sheltered at Fort Bliss and Lackland Air Force Base in Texas; Fort Sill; Naval Base Ventura County, Calif.; and Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.
Customs and Border Protection photo by Mani Albrecht