The Associated Press
TACOMA — Joint Base Lewis-McChord is one of the military installations that could be selected to temporarily house children from Central America who are detained at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Negotiations are underway between the Defense Department and the Department of Health and Human Services, said a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Denny Heck of Olympia, whose district includes the base.
“He believes it’s a humanitarian crisis first and foremost,” Communications Director Kati Rutherford said Tuesday. “He’s been made aware they’re considering it, just for a transition to get the children to legal guardians or relatives.”
A decision on using the base could be made this week, Rutherford said. There’s no word yet on how many children could be moved and when it might take place.
Heck has been assured it wouldn’t impact the service mission of Lewis-McChord, Rutherford said. No service members would be involved. A private contractor would make the arrangements.
Lewis-McChord has vacant World War II-era barracks that had been used in an annual ROTC exercise until it moved this year to Kentucky, The News Tribune reported Tuesday.
The office of Gov. Jay Inslee’s also said it’s been in touch with federal authorities on the proposal.