Feedback: Housing Refugee Children At Fort Drum?

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Fort Drum could be used to house illegal immigrant children from Central and South America.

A spokesperson for the Office of the Secretary of Defense says the post is being considered.

"The fact that it has been identified is the first of many steps before they actually get to house children there," said Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Crosson.

Crosson says it's too early to tell if Fort Drum will be used, but if it is, the installation and its barracks would not house children until next month.

"We can't even offer those to Health and Human Services for their consideration until August, until they're vacant and no longer being used by Army personnel," he said.

He was unable to release additional information.

According to a classified ad placed by Occupational Health Connections, multiple positions will be available at Fort Drum for registered and licensed practical nurses, doctors and counselors.

"FEMA is gearing up for potential of receiving 500 children up to the age of 17. These are children refugees who are crossing the border to escape drug cartels and will need healthcare," the ad reads.

The ad says the start date is unknown, but people will probably start after July 4.

"There will be little notice so we are trying to get resumes and license of those interested," the ad reads.

The ad says other positions in food service and housekeeping may also be available.

The health professionals will be doing health assessments, immunizations, triage and first aid for injuries and illnesses.

There will be free lodgings, meals, laundry, malpractice and travel expenses, according to the ad.

7 News contacted Occupational Health Connections, which had no comment.

Carl McLaughlin, head of the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization, said he had not heard about refugee children coming to Fort Drum.

However, he said there is room at barracks on post.

Since October, officials say more than 52,000 unaccompanied children from Central and South America have streamed across the southwestern border of the United States.

The children are in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is seeking areas across the country to place them.

Kenneth Wolfe from HHS said in an email to 7 News, "While only a few facilities will ultimately be selected, a wide range of facilities are being identified and evaluated."

HHS has opened three temporary shelter facilities at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland in Texas, Naval Base Ventura County-Port Neuneme in California and Fort Sill in Oklahoma.

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Friday, October 31, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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