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

May 4, 2021


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.

Sign up for breaking news, alerts and updates with Cal Coast News Top Stories.


Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment

More Reason to Vote Gaven Newsom out!

States rights do still exist!

California Leadership is Awash with Failed Leadership from Democrats!!!!!!!!


If this is going to happen, the same accommodations need to be offered to all of our county’s homeless also.


They could offer, but the county’s homeless already don’t take advantage of the existing housing that is offered to them, preferring to live on the streets, in creeks, etc. I guarantee that NONE of them would take up the offer to live in a desolate isolated army barracks many miles away from either a job or a place they can panhandle for money. Exactly what would they do all day?


So let me get this straight. We have thousands of unaccompanied minors who crossed our southern border currently housed in cages in a building that has central heating and air, but because of the negative media attention we are moving them to an army base in the middle of nowhere and housing them in tents.

Has anybody been at Camp Roberts in August? It’s like being on the sun. I hope they put the kids in “glamping” tents at least. Maybe buy each one their very own personal portable electric fan for when the march to their chow hall tent.

How about medical care for these kids? Any of them going to wind up in Twin Cities Hospital? If so are they under guard because if they walk away the local cops can’t stop them because they are forbidden by state law to enforce immigration laws. They can’t even ask a person’s immigration status.

If Trump had done this people would call it child abuse, but when Biden does it we call it compassion…


No mention of how they will be fed, nor hygiene concerns (3 shower heads in a communal shower per barrack. 3-4 toilets per barrack. 4 sinks per barrack), nor that the Summer is notoriously crazy hot at Camp Bob, which will require cooling systems for the barracks or tentage. Also, no mention of security personnel. Anyone who has ever visited or trained there, knows it’s not just the low water levels, but the poor quality of that water.

And what of the training requirements of the National Guard and regular forces that use the Post? Is Gavin suddenly okay with children being around people with guns? Large vehicles moving at all hours?

And lastly, who the hell does your research CCN? Camp Bob was built in 1940-1941, making it impossible to separately house any blacks in either county in the 1930’s!


Of course they need to have schools, food, doctors, clothes and….. well everything! Bunch of crap if you ask me. Build the wall and have armed guards on them.

Jorge Estrada

Is Camp Roberts now the “International Guard”. Say what you want but the fact remains that there is no housing at Camp Roberts for our homeless citizens.


I challenge you to find a single homeless person who’d want to live on a desolate isolated army barracks miles away from anywhere else. What are they going to do all day with no job nearby and no one to ask for money from? Panhandle from each other? Homeless people live in cities because that’s where the money is.

Jorge Estrada

The homeless can be given a choice, the barracks or the enforcement of vagrancy laws. This is a realistic option, the public does not have to tolerate freeway campgrounds, park playground weirdo’s or trespassing.


Just as it began…. this will end badly. They’re just cages with a different name. Where is the blue media condemnation now?

George Dunn

“I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”


First of all we all want to protect all children but this is absolutely ” INSANE “. No we don’t want to leave them in the desert but Biden caused this ” CRISIS” by his open border come on in we will take care of you before we take care of our own children policy. Biden and his Socialist party was in total power before and they never implemented a immigration policy because they don’t want to as this gives them something just like the false race issues to keep us fighting among ourselves. He said its Trumps policy that created the problem and he goes on TV and tells this out right lie with no remorse. Bidens policy has basically led to the parents of these children abandoning them and if a American citizen did the same they would be hunted down and put in jail. These people broke our laws and are here illegally and instead of spending Millions to take care of them we should be flying them back to where they came ( at probably a lot less cost ) and tell their country here are your people back and keep them here. Mexico should also be made accountable as they let these people go thru their country because they don’t want them in theirs. We don’t help out the wounded veterans who many were stationed at Camp Roberts but lean over back words for people here illegally. This is “DISGUSTING “