Plan to house immigrant children at JBLM abandoned for now

JBLM -- The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)  is no longer looking for facilities to house refugee children from Central America, at least temporarily ending any plans to turn Joint-Base Lewis McChord into a housing shelter for the displaced kids.

The DHHS decide to cancel, or at least postpone, plans to move children to temporary housing in spots around the country, Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., said Tuesday.

Previously, DHHS announced it was looking at JBLM to house about 600 children, as more and more unaccompanied minors crossed the border in Mexico.

A statement released by Heck said he trusted the decision not to find homes for the immigrant children, but said the  problem of unaccompanied minors trying to cross the border was not going away anytime soon.

"I trust HHS to make the right decisions about what facilities are best for the refugee children," he said. "But this situation will not simply go away because the children are not staying in our district. As we continue to experience this humanitarian crisis, I support providing emergency funding to provide adequate assistance to care for the children, as well as resources for proper immigration proceedings."

According to the Seattle Times, more than 57,000 minors have crossed the border between October and the end of June.

“We are a proud nation of immigrants, and I will continue to push for common-sense, comprehensive immigration reform," Heck said.