Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland

Eileen Pace

AUSTIN — They signed up to fight for their country, and the state of Texas promised to pay for their education.

For decades, veterans went to public universities and colleges under the Hazlewood Exemption, which kicks in after federal benefits under the G.I. Bill are exhausted. But the price tag has increased sevenfold since 2009, when legislators in Texas — which has the country’s second-highest veteran population, 1.7 million — allowed the benefit to be passed on to veterans’ children under a legacy provision.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services is ending its use of Lackland Air Force Base and several other facilities for housing unaccompanied minors.

HHS, which cares for the minors after they are detained by Border Patrol, announced on Monday Joint Base San Antonio Lackland, Fort Sill Army Base and Port Hueneme Naval Base would no longer be used as temporary shelters for 7,700 Central American migrant children.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

An internal review by the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) found 63% of the Central American children being housed at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio would qualify for some type of asylum relief.

Michel Marizco / Fronteras

Last week the Texas Department of State Health Services toured U.S. Customs and Border Patrol facilities where thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America are living.

While the department has no jurisdiction over the Fort Brown Detention Center in Brownsville and the McAllen Station Detention Center, DSHS Media Relations Director Carrie Williams said they have been able to provide technical assistance and vaccines.

Jonathan Ryan / RAICES

As the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border into Texas continues to increase, local agencies have been stepping in to help with the care for the children.

A legal immigration assistance center has re-focused its mission to help during the crisis, and has begun serving children at Lackland and across South Texas. 

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