GREAT FALLS - Less than 24 hours after we first learned Malmstrom Air Force Base could be housing Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC), the Great Falls City Commissioners received a letter stating the base was no longer available to provide temporary shelter.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has spent weeks looking over three separate places that could house refugee children.
The email from ORR, obtained by KFBB, does say these shelters will help US Border Patrol continue its "vital national security mission."
Fort Sill in Oklahoma, Fort Benning in Georgia and Malmstrom AFB were all in consideration however, according to a report from ABC News, Fort Sill has been named the designated place for migrant children who are traveling without their parents.
Starting next month the army post, which is located about 90 miles southwest of Oklahoma City, could see as many as 1,400 children according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Below is the email sent to KFBB Newsroom from Mayor Bob Kelly:
Dear Mayor Kelly,
As you know, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) at HHS is identifying capacity, should it need to expand, to provide shelter for UAC apprehended at the U.S. Southern Border. Aggressive management of shelter capacity is a prudent step to ensure that ORR is able to meet its responsibility, by law, to provide shelter for UAC referred to its care by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and so that the US Border Patrol can continue its vital national security mission to prevent illegal migration, trafficking, and protect the borders of the United States.
This email is to update you on the potential use of Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, MT as a temporary shelter for UAC. Malmstrom Air Force Base is no longer available for use to provide temporary shelter for unaccompanied alien children.
Please contact me at Darcie.Johnston@HHS.Gov if you have any questions.
Darcie L. Johnston
Director, Intergovernmental Affairs
Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services