By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, June 16, 2016, the US House of Representatives passed an amendment authored by Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) that would prohibit the Department of Defense from using any money to construct or modify facilities to house unaccompanied alien children (UAC).
Byrne’s amendment passed the House by a vote of 223 to 198.
Representative Byrne said, “I’m pleased the House passed my amendment to make clear there are better places to house illegal migrant children than our nation’s military facilities. It simply makes no sense to place these children so close to military activities like Navy aircraft training or live firing ranges.”
The amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act reads that “none of the funds made available by this Act may be used to modify a military installation in the United States, including construction or modification of a facility on a military installation, to provide temporary housing for unaccompanied alien children.”
Congressman Byrne concluded, “I especially hope the passage of my amendment sends a message to the Obama Administration that they should not bring these children to Navy airfields in Baldwin County. Doing so would put the children at risk while also compromising military readiness.”
Byrne’s amendment is especially timely as on June 3, 2016 the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that unaccompanied illegal immigrant minors could potentially be housed at Naval Outlying Fields in Silverhill and Orange Beach, Alabama.
Rep. Byrne has sent a letter to the Obama Administration outlining his concerns with housing the alien children in Baldwin County.
US Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) and Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) have announced that they also oppose President Obama’s (D) resettlement plans.
Sen. Shelby said, “The Obama Administration has once again shown an interest in potentially using Alabama’s military installations as temporary housing for illegal immigrants. These Department of Defense properties should be used for those men and women working to keep our nation safe – not to house illegal immigrants.”
Congressman Bryne said in a statement, “I oppose these efforts because it is not in the best interest of the children or our military. These airfields were not designed to house anyone, especially young children. My office will work to prevent this flawed proposal from becoming anything more than just a suggestion.”
Sen. Shelby said, “President Obama’s blatant disregard for our immigration laws has led us to this point, and we must not allow his actions to burden our nation’s military and local communities. I will fight against any attempts to allow those who break our laws to be housed at Alabama’s military facilities, and I urge the Administration to humanely and expeditiously transport these individuals back to their homes.”
Gov. Bentley said, “The federal government is once again usurping the authority of Alabama in its effort to relocate unaccompanied minors,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “It is actions like this that led me to file a lawsuit in January against the federal government refugee resettlement program. While I am extremely sympathetic to the needs of unaccompanied minors, as Governor of Alabama, I feel strongly that states should .play an active role in the decision making process.”
Tens of thousands of illegal aliens are flooding to the US Southern border to take advantage of an Obama Administration policy to not turn back minors who reach the border. Congress has opposed that policy but the President has implemented it in defiance of the Congress’s wishes.
The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, with Byrne’s amendment included, passed the House by a vote of 282 to 138. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.