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Federal Government Eyes Northern Virginia for Child Immigrant Shelter

The facility could house up to 440 unaccompanied minor immigrant children

The federal government is eyeing Northern Virginia for a permanent facility to house hundreds of unaccompanied immigrant children.

The General Services Administration posted a pre-solicitation notice looking to lease space in the Capital region of Northern Virginia that could accommodate a facility for 440 children in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun or Prince William county for up to 15 years.

The request outlines a plan for a building with 110 bedrooms, bathrooms, a medical office and 4,000 square feet of classroom space, along with a dining area and outdoor recreation area.

The Department of Health and Human Services has been sending children to facilities in several states, including Virginia, as a result of a surge of children deemed unaccompanied. The building would be another way station for immigrant children looking for permanent settlement in the U.S.

In a June report, the Office of the Inspector General said inspectors unannounced visits to immigration detention centers in California and New Jersey and found practices that violated standards, including rotting food and dilapidated bathrooms.

Later on, a Florida representative revealed the Trump administration was scouting spaces in Florida and Virginia that would reduce the need for unlicensed temporary detention centers.

There are already holding facilities for about 130 children in Bristow and Stanton, Virginia.

The ultimate goal is to have the new facility occupied by the end of July 2020. Bids must be submitted by next week.

Some local officials said they were taken aback by the measure, and also expressed concern about the cost of leasing space in the Capital Region.

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