Idaho Dispatch

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Idaho National Guard Directed to Assess Illegal Immigrant Housing Capability

By • May 14, 2021

Recently, Idaho Dispatch received a message from someone who works with the Idaho National Guard.

The individual wished to remain anonymous but was concerned about something they said was occurring at the Orchard Combat Training Center. Their concern was that the Idaho National Guard was assessing their facilities to determine if they could house immigrants coming across the border illegally from Mexico.

Idaho Dispatch confirmed that the Idaho National Guard did assess whether or not the Guard could house “unaccompanied minors” crossing the border illegally.

The confirmation of the information came from Lt. Col. Chris Borders, who serves as the Public Affairs Officer with the Idaho Air National Guard.

Borders spoke with Idaho Dispatch and told us,

In mid-April, along with many other states, we were directed by the Army National Guard Director at the National Guard Bureau to analyze IDNG facilities that could potentially be used to support housing of unaccompanied children.

Criteria provided by the director included facilities that can accommodate a minimum of 500 children, road access to the site, an ability to establish perimeter fencing, and the facility would be available for 6 months.

A Maj. Jerome Sitco performed the assessment and determined that one facility in the OCTC, the Organizational Readiness Training Center specifically, was capable of meeting the majority of the criteria provided by the National Guard Bureau. Once Sitco performed the assessment, the results were sent back to the National Guard Bureau.

Borders said that is the last they heard on the issue. He concluded by saying,

At this time, we do not expect to be asked to house unaccompanied children. We have not been directed to conduct any further actions regarding this matter.

Idaho Dispatch asked Borders if the Idaho National Guard were asked to house the children if it would interfere with potential training missions. During the spring and summer, the OCTC is used by military units across the country.

Borders told Idaho Dispatch that he could not guarantee that it wouldn’t interrupt potential training but reiterated that they are not expecting the Idaho National Guard to be asked to house any unaccompanied children.

Idaho Dispatch also asked Borders to confirm that the order did not come from Governor Brad Little, and he confirmed that the order did not come through the governor’s office at any time.

Little was part of a list of 20 governors across the country that signed a letter to President Joe Biden’s administration. The governors are demanding that Biden’s administration do more with the situation at the border.

In the letter, the governor’s state, in part,

The rhetoric of the Biden Administration and the rollback of critical agreements with our allies have led to the inhumane treatment of tens of thousands of children and undermined a fragile immigration system.

The letter also states,

We call on you to take action on the crisis at the southern border immediately. Contrary to statements from your Administration, the border is neither closed nor secure. In fact, the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) reports a staggering surge in recent crossings: 172,000 encounters in March, the highest number in nearly 20 years, as well as 18,890 unaccompanied children, the largest monthly number in history.

Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a press conference last month,

The president does not feel that children coming to our border seeking refuge from violence, economic hardships and other dire circumstances is a crisis.

Psaki went on to say,

He does feel that the crisis in Central America, the dire circumstances that many are fleeing from – that that is a situation we need to spend our time on, our effort on. And we need to address it if we’re going to prevent more of an influx of migrants coming in years to come.

Idaho Dispatch reached out to the governor’s office to determine if they were aware of the Idaho National Guard’s assessment requested by the National Guard Bureau. We have not received a response at the time of this writing but will update the article if the governor’s office responds.

Do you believe the Idaho National Guard should house “unaccompanied immigrant minors” from the southern border if ordered to?

Let us know in the comments below.

Tags: Brad Little, Idaho National Guard, Illegal Immigration, Jerome Sitco, Joe Biden, LTC Chris Borders, Orchard Training Area