Amid a resurgence in the pace of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the U.S. border, President Barack Obama is facing angry opposition as he searches for places to house them temporarily.
The administration is attempting to assemble a network of shelters on military bases and other federal facilities to lodge thousands of children awaiting immigration proceedings after leaving El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. That’s hit a nerve in communities, some in crucial presidential swing states such as Colorado and Florida, where potential facilities were announced without community input and later scrapped.
“I don’t want a military base to be an orphanage,” said Veronica Kemeny, president of the Republican Veterans of Florida, who lives in Panama City near an Air Force Base that was named as a potential shelter.
Ten additional military bases were placed under review by the government. Six were dropped as potential sites last week, leaving under consideration bases in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Alabama and California, according to Defense Department spokesman Tom Crosson.
In Ohio, Republican Governor and presidential candidate John Kasich in December denied requests by the Obama administration to use the state’s National Guard facilities to house children.
In Florida, before it was crossed it off the list last week, Obama’s plan to house children at Tyndall Air Force Base outside Panama City had turned into a political fight in a heated congressional race featuring two Republicans trying to unseat a Democratic incumbent.