Immigration detention on United States military bases

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The United States government has detained or interned immigrants on military bases on several occasions, including as part of internment of Japanese Americans, of Italian Americans and of German Americans during World War II. In the 2010s, military bases have been used to house unaccompanied asylum seekers from Central America.

World War II internment[edit]

These camps held detainees of Japanese, German and Italian descent:[1]

Central American migrants under Obama[edit]

As part of the 2014 American immigration crisis, tens of thousands of arriving migrants were detained by the United States. From May to August 2014, the Department of Defense operated temporary detention facilities housing as many as 7,700 unaccompanied children mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.[2] The children were held at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas, Fort Sill Army Base in Oklahoma and Naval Base Ventura County-Port Hueneme in California.[2]

Central American migrants under Trump[edit]

Amid the Trump administration family separation policy, the Department of Health and Human Services began discussing detaining arriving immigrant families and children on military facilities. Executive Order 13841, signed on June 20, 2018, instructs that, "The Secretary of Defense shall take all legally available measures to provide to the Secretary, upon request, any existing facilities available for the housing and care of alien families, and shall construct such facilities if necessary and consistent with law."[3] On June 21, the Department of Health and Human Services requested facilities to house migrant children. Pentagon spokesmen and a memorandum sent to Congress confirmed that the Department of Defense was preparing facilities at four military bases in Texas and Arkansas to house 20,000 "unaccompanied alien children".[4]

  • Fort Bliss, near El Paso, Texas—On June 25, the Associated Press reported that Fort Bliss had been chosen to house migrant families.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Japanese American Internment Camps". Retrieved October 2, 2007.
  2. ^ a b Bohn, Kevin (August 5, 2014). "No more military housing for kids pouring over border". CNN. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  3. ^ "Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation". Retrieved 2018-06-20 – via National Archives.
  4. ^ Shear, Michael; Cooper, Helene; Benner, Kate (June 21, 2018). "U.S. Prepares to House Up to 20,000 Migrants on Military Bases". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  5. ^ "Migrant Detainees to Be Housed at 2 Texas Military Bases". 2018-06-25. Retrieved 2018-06-25.