Camp Roberts to house up to 20,000 migrant children during drought

May 4, 2021

By KAREN VELIE

Amid drought conditions and concerns of water shortages, the Department of Health and Human Services has received permission to temporarily house unaccompanied migrant children at Camp Roberts in San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties.

Initially, 1,500 children were to be housed in barracks. Now, there are plans for a maximum of 20,000 children to be sheltered in either military-style tents or trailers for up to four years, according to several sources who have asked to remain anonymous. Several thousand caregivers and other support workers would add to the total number housed at the base.

The Camp Roberts Joint Land Use Study, published in 2013, points to problems related to the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin that could arise from an increase in demand for water from the basin. Camp Roberts pumps ground water from the basin to support camp operations and provide drinking water.

For more than a decade, declining water levels in the basin have caused residential and small agricultural wells to go dry. The civilian population and agriculture uses have dramatically increased leading to less water availability, according to the study.

“Groundwater supply planning must be coordinated to ensure viable water resources,” according to the study. “If the demand for groundwater increases, Camp Roberts could contribute to and exacerbate groundwater supply concerns.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported in late April that 97.5% of California was under drought conditions. San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties are in moderate to severe drought.

A 2020 University of Cal Poly study describes a worst case scenario if farmers and residents are forced to reduce their water usage by 23 percent. Wineries could lose more than $215 million annually, with an estimated 967 jobs lost.

The study, “The Economic Impact on the Local Economy of Irrigated Agriculture in the Paso Robles Area and Potential Impacts of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act,” was conducted by Lynn Hamilton, Ph.D. and Michael McCollough, Ph.D. of Cal Poly.

Camp Roberts straddles San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties. Current plans are to house the children on the Monterey County side of the base, where minority soldiers were segregated in the 40s. Because the infrastructure is dilapidated, federal employees are currently assessing infrastructure, such as plumbing for water and sewer, sources said.

For decades, the California Military Department has retained jurisdiction over the federally owned base. However, sources contend the federal goverment has recently taken control of portions of the base.

Government officials from multiple agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, have refused to discuss detailed plans for Camp Roberts.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Shiroma, Chief of Media Relations, said the California National Guard “retains operations at Camp Roberts,” but directed questions regarding portions of the base being under federal control to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which also refused to answer questions.

Camp Roberts is a National Guard post that provides training for National Guard, Army Reserve and law enforcement agencies. It spans 43,000 acres with approximately 33,000 acres used for training.

Some 22,195 children are in the Department of Health and Human Services custody and more than 683 in Customs and Border Patrol custody, not including children from Mexico who are expected to be repatriated, according to Homeland Security.

On May 3, border patrol officers apprehended 426 unaccompanied migrant children and placed them in Customs and Border Patrol custody. Over the past 30 days, officers have picked up an average of 429 children a day.

Camp Roberts is the third military base selected to house unaccompanied children. The Pentagon previously approved Fort Bliss and Joint Base, both in Texas, as other sites to house immigrant children.

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username1

I find the water usage the least concerning aspect of this story. My how different government would look if you had to be a tax paying individual to vote.


slo-to-load

Interesting, so you are advocating for opening up voting to non-citizens and illegal immigrants, because most of them pay taxes too.


username1

Riiiight, since I’m sure the first thing they do when released is apply for a SSN so they can pay taxes.


coronet blue

This problem is just another result of global overpopulation. Why isnt anyone talking about about this?


TKG

Great! Joe Biden’s turning Camp Roberts into a concentration camp for under age illegal immigrants and threatening the Paso Robles groundwater basin at a time the Governor has declared an exceptional drought. What’s he smoking?


Michael A.

The Democrats so hated Trump they were ‘forced’ to make stupid decisions. Yeah, that’s it.


ViolentFelon

Camp Roberts? More like Camp of the Saints.


agnative

WOW 20,000? I though the U.S. was against family separation.


kevin rise

There are 3 factors ruining our water table here: vineyards, firestone brewery and growth, not click bait children migrant housing.


commonsenseguy

Yes, but now we can include this Biden insanity as well. So much for his promise to protect the environment.


kevin rise

Wth does Biden have to do with failed central and southern american democracies propped up by corrupt Americans and global warming? America and Russia destroyed these places and now they’re coming here. Dear god, does basic Social Science and Economics and facts from SCHOOL register in your head, or just indoctrinated ideologies not based on facts flooding your brain?


commonsenseguy

First of all, your buddy Biden has been there for the last fifty years. He’s part of the problem. It’s very evident he still is. Did not these things happen under his watch as a Senator and Vice President? He has a whole lot to do with it.


I have no problem with people coming here. Just do it legally. The process is already there. Enforce it AND follow it. Too much to ask? I thought Biden and his party were about “rule of law”? Or is it only followed when like your logic, to meet a desired narrative.


I noticed, like the Biden administration, that China, India, Pakistan, Mexico, and other countries Biden benefits from, aren’t called out by their destruction of the environment. Is it only America and Russia? Too much indoctrination from the “blue media” on you? Again, I thought global warming was a about the facts and science? But then again, many of this ilk only support facts and science when needed, and reject them when it doesn’t fit.


I do know economics and how they work. When I went to school, teachers taught, and truly put the students first. It was okay to share an opinion and have open debate in class. Public schools and what is taught today in controlled by the teachers unions, the Progressive Socialist politicians for the only purpose of indoctrination of the beliefs only.


The last time I checked I wasn’t the one against local businesses that employed thousands of people and helps brings millions of dollars to our local economy along with those employees and their income that reenters the local economy. I don’t drink the beer or the wine, but enjoy the benefits of the income when it comes to police, fire, and other services. Oh that’s right, you guys want to defund those.


Buchon

And the hits just keep on coming! Crazy!


“Temporarily house” is a euphemism for “the crafting of a perpetual slum that going to have a profoundly negative impact on the Central Coast for decades to come, while also providing a new stream of loyal radical-left voters.”


In other words, it’s a lie.


mazin

So what do you suggest? Leave these children in the desert or to secretly relocate in an unknown locale in the USA?

Congress needs to act on a realistic workable immigration reform, NOW.

People have been arguing about this for thirty years!

Meanwhile, this maybe just the beginning with climate change.


Buchon

I suggest the USA:


1.) Secure the border to stop the flow of illegal aliens.


2.) Repatriate all existing illegal aliens to their home countries.


shishkabob141

How about sending them home to be reunited with their families?


skidmark

Thanks Biden!


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