As the Trump administration looks to find areas to house undocumented immigrant children who have either arrived in the United States alone, or have since been separated from their parents, a new site is being slated to house up to 7,500 of these children.
“Public records show the migrant children’s housing site proposed for Goodfellow will be built atop a former landfill, in an area riddled with lead, benzene and other chemicals particularly hazardous to children. This is outrageous.” said Lisa Evans, an Earthjustice attorney.
According to the report, the site, which used to be a landfill, contains a number of incredibly toxic substances found within the ground. These substances include, but are not limited to carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, lead, benzene, and arsenic.
The report by Earthjustice closes with the following statement:
“The Trump administration’s immigration policy has been a disaster since day one. Yet its disregard for human rights, as well as the health of migrants, and more specifically migrant children, is reaching new heights with its plans to detain the most vulnerable in the polluted GAFB. If these plans go forward, approximately 7,500 migrant children will be detained in an area contaminated with lead, arsenic, benzene, PFAS, and myriad other harmful chemicals associated with increased risk of cancer and permanent neurodevelopmental damage. Essentially, instead of protecting children fleeing violence and extreme poverty, the government wants to detain them on top of a former landfill in a chemically polluted military base. The process of building detention centers, meanwhile, is proceeding quietly and with little accountability. This report makes it clear that detaining migrant children on GAFB is not just ill-conceived, it is dangerous and could damage the lives of thousands of children for years to come. Migrant children fleeing desperate conditions do not belong in cages, let alone chemically polluted cages.”
While the toxicity of the area should be of huge concern, much of which the government has refused to do adequate research studies on, the fact that the facility will be housed on a military base may be just as big of a concern to these children. Attorneys for these children may very well be limited in their personal contact with their adolescent clients due to the secure nature of the base.
HillReporter has reached out to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, but they have yet to respond to our inquiry.