The two congressmen who represent Fort Hood within their districts said Tuesday that they would not sign off on migrants who have entered the country illegally being housed at the Army installation.
In a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Norris Cochran, U.S. Reps. Roger Williams, R-Austin, and John Carter, R-Round Rock, wrote to “register our strong opposition to any plans by the Department of Defense (DOD) or Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to utilize military installations to house illegal immigrants as a result of the ongoing border crisis.”
The congressmen reminded the secretaries of a previous stipulation in the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act that requires the secretary to meet with the House and Senate Armed Services Committee prior to entering into an agreement with a federal agency to provide temporary shelter. The bill requires proof first that providing housing on a military installation will not hamper military training, daily operations or readiness.
“I’m proud to continue working alongside Judge Carter to protect Fort Hood from being used to house Unaccompanied Children (UAC),” Williams said. “Together we secured a provision in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act to prevent agency requests to house UAC on military bases and we will ensure that this law is upheld by the Biden Administration. As we continue to make progress on defeating COVID-19, bringing more migrants into our communities without proper heath procedures is irresponsible and a direct threat to the health and safety of Central Texans.”
American authorities encountered people crossing the border without legal status more than 100,000 times in February, according to an Associated Press article. The U.S. government plans to house up to 3,000 immigrant teenagers at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas for up to 90 days, beginning as early as this week.
“The Biden Administration has amplified a crisis along the southern border with their weak border security policies, and as a result, are looking to house illegal immigrants on America’s military bases,” Carter said. “This isn’t the first time an administration has looked to use our military installations as temporary housing for those illegally crossing into the United States and that’s why we included language to prevent it in the FY17 NDAA.”
In the letter to the secretaries, the congressmen requested the suspension of “any actions currently underway to enact policies that would be in clear violation of current law.”
The letter stated the congressmen were willing to work with the secretaries on resolving the issue, “However, our military installations simply cannot be used in this manner, and our work will continue to ensure that no resources are directed away from the training and readiness of our armed forces.”