SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff has confirmed that federal officials are considering Freeman Coliseum as a temporary housing facility for migrant children coming across the border.
“I would certainly support it,” said Wolff. “Look, we’re dealing with children. Everybody can have their own opinions about what they think about immigration and who should be allowed in the country and who should not bue, but we’re dealing with children 16 years and younger.”
Wolff said there has been no agreement reached, but he has spoken to representatives of FEMA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services about the possibility of using the site for unaccompanied minors. He said there are questions about security, who would manage the place and who would provide food.
Federal officials also are eyeing Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland as a possible overflow site.
“We did get word late today that Health and Human Services had made outreach to the defense secretary inquiring about the potential use of Joint Base San Antonio,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said at Tuesday evening’s COVID-19 briefing.
They’ve also inquired about Fort Bliss in El Paso. Congressman Chip Roy, whose district includes San Antonio, blasted the idea.
“First of all, the military bases aren’t designed to be housing children, and the President and his administration ought to know better,” Roy said on News 4 San Antonio. “The Biden administration has no idea what they’re doing and they’re endangering American citizens, making our military weaker, harming immigrants, harming Mexico. Who is this good for?
During the Obama administration, nearly 16,000 unaccompanied minors were housed at five military bases, including JBSA-Lackland and Fort Bliss.
“What’s happening on the border, as we’ve seen before, is just an incredible human tragedy, so my hope is that what happens going forward is treated with the utmost compassion and care,” said Nirenberg.
He said if the County reaches an agreement to use Freeman Coliseum as an overflow facility, the City will provide assistance, if needed.