BETHPAGE - News 12 has confirmed the Department of Health and Human Services is considering using the former Grumman facility in Bethpage as a detention center to house unaccompanied immigrant children who come to the U.S. illegally.
Since October, border patrol agents have arrested more than 52,000 unaccompanied immigrant children crossing the border, most of them from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Officials say there are 100 similar facilities across the country, but they are overburdened with detainees because of the recent surge in unaccompanied children crossing the border.
Long Island Rep. Peter King says using the Bethpage site would not be a good idea.
King, Rep. Steve Israel and Nassau Executive Ed Mangano released a joint statement this afternoon saying they all agree the site would not be a suitable shelter.
Mangano had said that housing children in the facility would be unsafe because of lingering contamination from the old Grumman plant. A deed supplied by the county states that because some hazardous substances remained, the area is restricted from being used as anything residential or anything involving children.
An employee of owner Steel Equities said today that no agreement has been made with the government on the use of the property.