Email Insights: Martha Roby confirms no immigrant detainees at Maxwell-Gunter

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Martha Roby

Alabama 2nd District U.S. Rep. Martha Roby confirmed in an email Thursday that no detained immigrant minors will be sent to Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery or any other Alabama military installation.

In January, Roby first voiced her concerns after an Obama administration plan to evaluate the feasibility of housing undocumented immigrant minors at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Bace in Montgomery as they await deportation surfaced.

Since that time, Roby had “unofficial” assurance that Maxwell-Gunter would not be used to house the detainees, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided official notice Thursday that the base was removed from consideration.

Watch Roby’s video remarks below:

Read Roby’s full email below:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – No detained immigrant minors will be sent to Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery or any other Alabama military installation, U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-Ala.) confirmed today.

While Roby previously had unofficial assurance that Maxwell-Gunter would not be used to house the detainees, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided official notice today that the base was removed from consideration.

“Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base is no place to house hundreds of illegal immigrant minors,” Roby said.  “We shut it down the first time and I’m glad we were able to shut it down again.

“I appreciate the support and partnership of my colleagues in Alabama Congressional Delegation who worked alongside me against this ill-advised proposal.”

Roby’s office was notified in January that Maxwell-Gunter was again being considered to house minors detained at the Mexican border while they await processing.  This after Roby and her Alabama delegation colleagues had fought and shut down a similar proposal from Obama Administration in 2014.

Roby immediately outlined her objections to the Secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security and HHS, explaining that the serious and sensitive missions at Maxwell-Gunter did not need to be disturbed by the housing and securing of hundreds of detainees. She also met personally with the Office of Refugee Resettlement to show why Gunter Annex was logistically unsuitable for this purpose, and then made the case to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell in an Appropriations Committee hearing.

Roby said the problem at the border would continue so long as lax enforcement and broken invites more people to illegally cross the border.

“We have to secure the border, first and foremost. We also need to have immigration policies that put America’s economic interests first and discourage people from entering the country illegally. Until we get serious about combatting illegal immigration, we will continue to see this problem at the border.”   

HHS officials also confirmed that naval air fields in Baldwin County, Ala. would also no longer be considered for detainee housing. The air fields were inexplicably added to the list for consideration earlier this year.

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