U.S. authorities are considering moving illegal immigrant children to NASA Airport in California’s Silicon Valley, as border facilities fill up amid an unprecedented surge of illegal aliens.
Officials are considering having illegal immigrant children housed at California’s Moffett Field facility, Home to NASA’s airfield and labs, located in the Golden State’s tech hub, according to a Thursday, March 11, report in the U.S. media outlet The Washington Examiner. It is approximately 11 miles from Apple’s headquarters. The federal land is located about 500 miles inland from the U.S.-Mexico border.
Sources say more than 3,200 children have previously been transferred to shelters designed to accommodate adults under the supervision of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. A total of 1,400 children are now being detained for more than 72 hours in small concrete rooms called “hieleras” or “refrigerators” without beds.
The Department of health and Human Services has asked federal agencies to determine whether they currently have vacant facilities that may be suitable for unaccompanied migrant children to use as temporary influx care facilities,” NASA spokesman Darryl Waller said, ABC News reported Wednesday (March 10). “
“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and NASA’s Ames Research Center are coordinating a site assessment of the currently vacant facility, Moffett Field, California, for HHS personnel to determine if certain facilities at the site would be suitable for temporary shelter in the future. This effort will not affect NASA’s ability to carry out its primary mission.” He continued.
The Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that it will work with NASA officials to investigate.
A Health and Human Services spokesperson told the Washington Examiner in an email, “NASA officials will tour the property with HHS staff for future use.” ” HHS will determine if the site will be used for day-to-day operations. We hope to make a decision soon on the viability of the NASA site as a potential temporary emergency shelter.”
The spokesperson further added, “If selected, Moffett Field would remain vacant but could be used to ensure that children are not stranded at the Border Patrol station for 72 hours.”
The Biden administration is responding to the crisis as officials project that 117,000 children will arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border without a parent or guardian by 2021, according to White House domestic policy documents. Customs and Border Protection data released Wednesday showed agents observed more than 100,000 illegal border crossers in February, compared with 78,000 the month before. Agents also noted a 50 percent increase in drug seizures at the border.
Recently, President Biden has been heavily criticized for his handling of migrant children.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in late February that the non-migrant situation at the border was not a repeat of “children in cages” after Democrats criticized the administration for reopening the detention facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas.
Other top figures, including Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, compared the immigration situation to a “challenge” rather than a crisis.
NASA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.