Who Would Be Good at Coordinating Unaccompanied Minors from Mexico — I Know Who!

The standard answer these days is emergency management.

The crisis on our southern border, which is not "officially" a crisis, is causing people to rethink their options for handling tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors and moving them out of the border facilities that the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) run. 

I'm reminded of the dispersal of people coming out of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. States around the nation were mobilized to help take people being moved by the federal government out of Louisiana to places unknown. What a mess that was!

Now, I've gotten the indication that states and cities are being asked to step up and help provide facilities for these unaccompanied children. The who, what, where and then when of this movement has to all be coordinated.

Who better to help with that coordination than, you guessed it, emergency management!

We'll be hearing more about this very soon as the news leaks out and plans start to be made. I certainly hope better records are being kept than those in the last administration where they lost track of parents and kids and were unable to reunite them. 

I'm reminded of one solution that was proposed back in 2005 here in Washington state. It was suggested to use vacant space at the State Mental Hospital. The county where that hospital was located was apoplectic over that idea. Not because of the space, but because of the message sent from housing people there. The same would go for any empty prison space being used — if you know what I mean. 

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.