- The Department of Health and Human Services confirmed to INSIDER in a statement that the Fort Sill military base has been "activated" as a "temporary emergency influx shelter" for the children.
- The department said it's taken custody of more than 40,000 unaccompanied migrant in the current fiscal year.
- Visit INSIDER's homepage for more stories.
The Trump administration is planning to detain hundreds of migrant children at the Fort Sill military base in Oklahoma, which was used as a Japanese internment camp during World War II.
The Department of Health and Human Services told INSIDER in a statement that it's taken custody of 40,891 unaccompanied migrant children between last October and April 30, and is struggling to accommodate them.
"Based on the anticipated growth pattern in referrals of [unaccompanied children] from DHS, HHS is activating facilities at Fort Sill Army Base as a temporary emergency influx shelter," the statement said.
The facility will have the bed capacity to hold 1,400 children at a time, though it's unclear how many will ultimately be housed there.
The number of children and families apprehended at the border has soared this year
The federal government has been overwhelmed by the tens of thousands of Central American migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border each month, which predominantly includes migrant families, but to a smaller extent includes unaccompanied children.
Last month, Border Patrol apprehended 144,278 migrants at the southern border, including 11,507 unaccompanied children .
The Obama administration also held migrant children at Fort Sill amid the 2014 influx of unaccompanied children arriving at the US-Mexico border. During that year, nearly 70,000 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the border, a 77% increase from the previous year that sparked scrutiny over the shoddy conditions migrant children were detained in.
HHS' Office of Refugee Resettlement is required by law to take custody of unaccompanied migrant children until they can be matched with a "sponsor," who is typically a parent or relative already living in the US.
Usually the children are transferred to shelters run by non-profits, and children generally spend an average of 57 days in the shelters waiting for the government to vet their sponsors and release them.
- Read more:
- In the chaos to reunite migrant children with their families, 37 kids were left in vans for up to 39 hours, with Texas temperatures in the 90s
- Trump is trying a risky new strategy to force Mexico to stop migrants from reaching the US. Experts say it could backfire spectacularly.
- A Border Patrol video shows 1,036 migrants crossing the US-Mexico border in what officials are calling 'the largest group ever encountered'
- Trump's tough border policies are actually helping the human smuggling business, experts say