Some military bases now housing immigrant children

FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) - More than 2,700 unaccompanied minors are now being cared for at three military bases out west in Oklahoma, Texas and California.

Now that the Pentagon confirmed talks with the Department of Health and Human Services to take on more undocumented children, this raises a big question-- could Fort Benning become a housing site as well?

News Leader 9 learned Wednesday evening that Fort Benning has not been notified about housing illegal immigrants.

Tens of thousands of undocumented children are expected to cross alone into the US this year.

Retired Army First Sergeant Odell Hardimon said he's seen children struggle to survive in third world countries.

"It's something to see a kid sell a Coke to a GI, whom he knows is thirsty...and would love to have a Coke. These kids get out and hustle this day in and day out," stated Hardimon.

Having served in the military for 26 years in Vietnam and Okinawa, Hardimon said while his heart goes out for those hurting children, he doesn't think a military base is the right place for them...

"I know it's a big burden on him...and I wish there was more cooperation from Congress in helping with this crisis."

Retired infantryman Enrique Aguliar is a documented immigrant. He came to the US from Costa Rico at the tender age of 5. He saw the same open border issue happen in his home country back in the 80s.

Aguliar explained, "Yeah we want to help people, but once you start talking about large numbers of people, it could be a real problem."

We also reached out to Georgia congressmen Republican Lynn Westmoreland and Democrat Sanford Bishop.

"Trust is the most important factor in a working relationship. Right now, the relationship between Congress and the president is missing just that. So it's pretty ironic when the president asks Congress for $2 billion to address immigration, right after he vows to bypass Congress to push his agenda. President Obama needs to realize that reform does not mean executive action, as the Supreme Court proved last week," stated Westmoreland.

Congressman Bishop: "These thousands of children are being brought to the United States and being subject to these very inhumane conditions – much of which has subjected them to abuse. It's also a very disappointing and unfortunate situation that they're able to come to our borders in contradiction of our immigration laws. That being said, we have very noble values in this country; the Statue of Liberty says "Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free" So we have a standard of receiving those individuals who want to find a better life. But we have to find a balance that will allow us to take care of American citizens to secure our borders, and at the same time to not allow travesties like these youngsters being brought into this country and going through inhumane conditions. We have got to make sure that that is stopped."

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