US considers using NASA facility to house migrant children

There are currently 8,100 minors in ORR facilities.

March 10, 2021, 11:46 PM

A NASA site in California is being considered as a potential location to house the growing number of migrants coming across the border, according to sources briefed on the plans.

Sources told ABC News that plans are still in flux, but the site, Moffett Federal Airfield in Mountain View, is expected to house a number of unaccompanied minors in Customs and Border Protection custody, which has risen to just under 3,500 in recent weeks, according to sources and internal CBP documents reviewed by ABC News.

"The Department of Health and Human Services has requested federal agencies to determine whether they have currently vacant properties that might be available and suitable for potential future use as Temporary Influx Care Facilities for unaccompanied migrant children," Darryl Waller, a spokesman for NASA told ABC News,

"HHS and NASA’s Ames Research Center are coordinating a site assessment of some currently vacant property at Moffett Field, California, for HHS personnel to determine whether certain facilities at the site might be suitable to temporarily provide shelter space in the future. This effort will have no impact on NASA’s ability to conduct its primary missions," Waller said.

PHOTO: A group of migrants rapidly deported from the US under Title 42 wait on the Mexican side of the Paso del Norte International Bridge, between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on March 10, 2021.
A group of migrants rapidly deported from the US under Title 42 wait on the Mexican side of the Paso del Norte International Bridge, between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on March 10, 2021. - Title 42 was implemented during the pandemic as a means of reducing the spread of Covid-19, rapidly expelling migrants that crossed illegally via international ports of entry on the US-Mexico border.
Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

The HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement confirmed Wednesday night that it is considering opening additional bed space for unaccompanied migrant children at a NASA site in California.

“NASA officials will join the HHS staff as they tour the property available for potential future use,” ORR said in a statement. “HHS will determine if the site will be used for UC operations. We expect to decide soon about the feasibility of the NASA site to serve as a potential temporary emergency influx shelter.”

The site would work similarly to the facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, where migrant children are housed until they’re reunited with family members or sponsors in the U.S. There are currently 8,100 minors in ORR facilities.

The majority of minors in CBP custody are over the age of 13, while nearly 200 are under the age of 12, the documentation shows. Nearly 1,500 have been waiting longer than the legal limit of 72 hours without being transferred to Health and Human Services.

FILE PHOTO: A Texas State Trooper asks asylum seeking migrants Edith and her son Harbin Ordonez, 4, to come out of hiding after the Honduran nationals crossed the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico on March 9, 2021.
FILE PHOTO: A Texas State Trooper asks asylum seeking migrants Edith and her son Harbin Ordonez, 4, to come out of hiding after the Honduran nationals crossed the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico on a raft in Penitas, Texas, March 9, 2021. About a dozen asylum seeking migrants hid in thick brush before being located by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) helicopter and were taken into custody for processing. The Rio Grande river is seen on the far right of the photograph.
Adrees Latif/Reuters

According to CBP data released Wednesday, the agency stopped more than 100,000 unauthorized crossing attempts from Mexico last month.

The continued increase in arrests marks the highest monthly total since Border Patrol stations were overwhelmed by an influx of migrant families in the spring of 2019. Roughly a quarter of those crossing are repeat offenders, one senior CBP official told reporters.

ABC News' Quinn Owen contributed to this report.

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