The Little Rock Air Force Base is one of the sites the U.S. government is considering to hold immigrant children separated from their families after crossing the border illegally, according to The Washington Post, which cited Defense Department communications.
The Post reported Tuesday that an email notification informed Pentagon staff members that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would visit the Arkansas base as well as three Texas bases in the next two weeks to determine if they are suitable to house children temporarily.
Sgt. Regina Edwards of the Little Rock Air Force Base confirmed Thursday that the site is on the list for a visit from the agency but said a date has not yet been set and that she could not release more details.
A statement from the agency said its Administration for Children and Families is responsible for the care of minors in the country illegally without a parent or guardian.
The division routinely evaluates the needs and capacity of an existing network of 100 shelters in 14 states, according to the statement. Additional properties are continuously being identified and evaluated as potential temporary shelter locations.
"The lack of parental protection, and the hazardous journey they take, make unaccompanied alien children vulnerable to human trafficking, exploitation and abuse," the statement reads. "In some cases many violent gangs, including MS-13, are exploiting loopholes in U.S. laws to bring gang members into the United States or recruit unaccompanied alien children once placed with a sponsor."
The bases the department is considering would be used as housing for minors who arrive at the border without an adult relative or after the government has separated them from their parents, according to the The Washington Post report.
Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.