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Military Asked To Provide 20,000 Beds For Detained Immigrant Children

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Cars wait to enter Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, in 2014. The U.S. Army Base is one of four that likely will be tasked with housing immigrant children following a request Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Pentagon is being asked by the Department of Health and Human Services to provide temporary beds for up to 20,000 undocumented children. That bed space would be needed beginning in July and running through the end of the year.

Officials tell NPR that four bases are expected to provide space, including the Army's Fort Bliss base in El Paso, Texas. It's uncertain if there would be enough barracks space, so officials say that tents likely would have to be put up.

It's unclear whether the space could be used for the family detention ordered this week by the Trump administration; the Department of Health and Human Services only handles detained children — separated from their parents or unaccompanied — while the adults are held by the Department of Homeland Security.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is being asked to provide 21 attorneys — most of them military officers — to help the Department of Justice to prosecute undocumented immigrant cases in California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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