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Holloman AFB to house Central American refugee children

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. – Beginning in mid-January, Holloman Air Force Base in southern New Mexico will become the temporary home for about 400 refugee children from Central America. The Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies are in charge of the program, a result of the recent increase in the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border into the United States.

Mike Espritu, director of the Chamber of Commerce in nearby Alamogordo, said local groups are getting ready to assist when the children arrive.

“We’ve already had one meeting with some local leaders and it appears the community is willing to do what it can, to do what’s right for the children,” he said. “Because at the end of the day, it’s going to take care of those young people, no matter who they are.”

At Holloman, an HHS spokeswoman said, the children will be provided with food, health care and a place to sleep. The goal will be to help them locate relatives in the United States or put them in temporary foster care. They eventually will be given court hearings to decide if they can stay in the country.

Espritu said he is aware that other refugee facilities have drawn protests and controversy, but he hopes to avoid that.

“One of my goals is to be extremely transparent with our community and those around the nation that are watching,” he said. “My goal is to get the word out there, because we’re not keeping any secrets.”

He said Holloman officials are remodeling what used to be the 4th Space Surveillance Squadron building to house the refugees. Officials say children will begin arriving around Jan. 15, and they have no timeline for how long the facility will be needed.

Author: Mark Richardson, Public News Service

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2 comments

  1. I am a retired Army MSG, disabled vet, retired high school biology teacher, and live in El Paso, Tx. I attend school at UTEP (studio Art), and work part time. I have taught migrant students for one summer and I am interested in becoming an art therapy instructor one day. Even under the very best circumstances, these children are challenged. I know how to help, but have limited means, resources, and time. Tell me how I can help you. I will do my best! Louise Underwood (719) 424-2204. Call me and leave a message if you need help with regard to these children. All others need not call. I am not interested in your opinions or negativity. What’s already been done will not be erased. If you are worried about what I am not doing for Americans, ask yourself if you are helping yourself. I have served my country for over 21 years. As an ambassador to America, and a hopeful Christian, I will try to assist where I am able. Louise Underwood

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