Abilene city, school officials prepare for possibility of ‘tent city’ at Dyess AFB

Local News

Editor’s Note: Other potential ‘tent city’ locations under consideration by the Federal Government include Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo and Fort Bliss in El Paso. 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The City of Abilene and Abilene school officials are prepared for a possible influx of immigrant children after Dyess Air Force Base was named one of three potential locations for a ‘tent city’ that would house kids separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

Despite the speculation, Mayor Anthony Williams says he has received no formal communication regarding the potential ‘tent city’, though he did tell KTAB and KRBC he believes the government has conducted at site evaluation at Dyess.

“Everything now is hypothetical,” Mayor Williams maintains, though he says, “if [the “tent city”] does come to be, we will respond like we always respond in Abilene, Texas – we will work together for the common good.”

Mayor Williams adds that, “very few communities work together like Abilene does”, and he believes this community involvement will be crucial if the immigrant children were to come to Dyess. 

Abilene ISD Superintendent Dr. David Young has also received little information regarding the logistics of “tent city”, so he’s left with a lot of questions as he begins to plan for the possibility.

Dr. Young told KTAB and KRBC that if a “tent city” were established, he doesn’t know if the children would integrate with AISD campuses or if they would stay on base to receive an internal education. 

Either way, he says the District is prepared to “welcome the children with open arms” while providing tools to further their futures, despite obvious obstacles like language barriers and lack of formal education. 

Students who present these obstacles would be assessed and given the same attention and resources as children with similar issues who are already attending AISD, though Dr. Young did say it would “prove a challenge” if his schools were to get an influx of hundreds of students with these needs. 

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TONIGHT on KTAB and KRBC News at 5PM, 6PM, and 10PM – Hear more from Mayor Williams, Dr. Young, and more as they discuss the probable impact of a “tent city” in Abilene. 

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