PORT HUENEME, Calif. - Officials expect a temporary shelter on a California military base to fill up next week as Central American children caught entering the country illegally are sent there amid a surge of border crossings.
During a tour of the facility Thursday at Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme, a government official said the number of children housed there could more than triple by early next week.
The shelter can hold up to 575 children. Most are from Central America. Bunk beds and extra dining tables have been set up to meet demand. Dirt soccer fields have been created for outdoor play.
The shelter is one of three planned for military bases in California, Oklahoma and Texas following a spike in the number of children caught crossing the border.
The Mayor of Port Hueneme, Jonathan Sharkey, said he has been inundated with calls. He said some are grandstanding while others want to help.
Health and Human Services workers in Ventura County have been getting calls too.
A private contractor named Southwest Key is been hired to place the mostly teens with U.S. relatives or sponsors until their immigration status is decided.
Donations are not being accepted at the Navy base's gates but people who wish to donate may do so online at http://www.dhs.gov/unaccompanied-children-southwest-border or https://www.swkey.org/donate/