700 refugees arrive at Holloman Air Force base

Holloman Air Force Base sits on the edge of the White Sands Missile Range, near Alamogordo, and uses some of the Range for practice bombing, and many other things. Holloman is an unusual Air Force Base, with a history of space program research and stealth projects. Photo Credit: US Air Force


Holloman Air Force Base was authorized by U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to provide temporary housing for as many as 400 children seeking temporary housing back in December, in the Alamogordo community in New Mexico.  The housing will allow them to be reunited with family who have already come from several different Central American countries, including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

According to the December 30, 2015 report the children are being housed in the building formerly used by the 4th Space Surveillance Squadron.

The U. S. has planned on providing housing for children of Central and South America by utilizing military bases that are no longer operational for over two years now, and was preparing Holloman Air Force Base with the intent of providing short-term, emergency shelter.

Holloman is ready for 250 children now and can hold a maximum capacity of 700, and is serving as one of three temporary shelter providers for the immigrant children. There will be shelters in Colorado and Florida as well.

According to KOAT 7, nearly 700 children have already arrived in the U. S. and “the federal government is trying to avoid a repeat of the summer of 2014, when so many children crossed the border into the U.S. from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Those children were forced to stay in U.S. Border Patrol facilities, which aren’t designed to house children”. Facilities at Holloman AFB were designed specifically for the purpose of housing the children.

The report said that each of the children between the ages of 14 and 17 are in the care of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They are not likely to remain on the base for more than a month, according to officials.

While the children are in the care of the U. S. Health and Human Services, they will receive medical care and schooling, and will be placed in homes with their families already living here, as part of a bigger family reunification plan, according to the report by the San Antonio Current.

Many of the local residents in Alamogordo say they support the cause to keep the children at the base.  “We have to be humanitarians at all times, when it comes to children like this,” Eli Calles, who helps put on a local gun show, said. He also added, that many in the town are opposed to the idea of keeping kids at the base, primarily over financial considerations and concerns.

“I think a lot of folks are just curious as to how long they’ll be there and how much money is being spent keeping them there,” he said.

There is no news yet on Florida and Colorado facilities.

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  • Penny M. Polokoff-Kreps earned her BA in Sociology from Queens College of the City University of New York. She is a published author, speaker, FL Supreme Court mediator, and a Guardian ad Litem. She runs a non-profit with her husband, a Vietnam veteran, providing nutritional supplements for veteran cancer survivors, and supporting veterans in obtaining service dogs. She is passionate about veteran's issues especially those related to PTSD and mental health.

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