Federal officials have told Pierce County leaders that local government resources won't be used if unaccompanied Central American children who crossed the border illegally are sheltered at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is evaluating the military base near Tacoma, Washington, to temporarily house about 600 unaccompanied minors who are among tens of thousands arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The News Tribune reports that federal officials discussed local concerns during a conference call Wednesday. They said the youths would not attend public schools at JBLM, would be screened for illnesses and be cared for by contractors.
By law, the agency must house the children until they are connected with relatives or a sponsor while they go through the federal immigration process.