Roby: Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base not appropriate for detaining immigrant minors

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) vowed this week to fight a proposal to possibly use Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base to house immigrant minors detained at the Mexican border, calling the plan a “terrible idea.”

Maxwell-Gunter is one of six military bases being assessed by the Department of Health and Human Services, according to the Pentagon. It would potentially be used to house children from the increase of minors at the southern border while they await deportation.

Roby, in a letter to the secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services, said that military installations are no place for housing detained children.

“The Air Force personnel at Maxwell-Gunter, like members of the U.S. Military stationed at bases throughout the country, are working hard to keep America safe,” Roby wrote in the letter. “That mission is challenging enough without the added responsibility of housing, feeding and securing detainees.

“A military base is no place to house illegal immigrant children. Bases like Maxwell are engaged in real military activities – training, education, cyber warfare – many times in classified settings that are very sensitive. Their mission does not need to be distracted by housing, feeding and securing hundreds of detainees.”

A Department of Defense email listed Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, North Dakota’s Grand Forks Air Force Base, Pennsylvania’s Naval Support Activity Philadelphia, Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts and California’s Travis Air Force Base as other potential holding locations.

“Housing illegal immigrant children at an active military base like Maxwell-Gunter is a terrible idea,” Roby said. “We shut it down the first time and we are working every angle to shut it down again.”

Alabama’s Congressional delegation took action more than a year ago to stop an attempt by the Obama administration to use Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base for the housing of detained immigrant minors.

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