At Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, the children will remain in an unoccupied dormitory, and at Fort Bliss, temporary housing will be built on vacant lot, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
HHS will have access to the locations “immediately” to prepare to receive the children, and the agency will “maintain custody and responsibility for the welfare and support of these children at all times during the facility,” Kirby said.
The approval comes as the influx of unaccompanied migrant children continues at the southern border. Federal law requires that children detained at the border be turned over to HHS, the agency in charge of their care, within 72 hours.
The Border Patrol detained more than 11,000 unaccompanied migrant children between February 28 and March 20, according to preliminary government data reviewed by CNN, which already dwarfs the number of minors detained for the entire month of February.
“They are not for children, and that is why he wants to open more shelters and increase and speed up processing at the border,” Psaki told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead” on Monday. “And that’s a topic he concentrates on every day.”
Kirby said Wednesday that the bases will begin to house unaccompanied migrant children “as soon as preparations are completed” and insisted that the arrangements “will not adversely affect military training, operations, readiness or other military requirements, including preparation of the National Guard and the Reserve “.
CNN’s Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.