Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s announcement Friday that Westover Air Force Reserve Base in Chicopee might be used to shelter immigrant children caught base commanders by surprise.
Base spokesman, Master Sgt Andrew Biscoe, said Westover is an active airfield with operational and security concerns that would need be addressed before it could house up to a thousand children. Also, lodging at the base is used on the weekends by thousands of reservists.
" We don't have as large a set up as an active duty Air Force base would have with sprawling housing areas and a significant infrastructure. It is an Air Force Reserve-owned base."
Gov. Patrick said federal officials will vet Westover and Camp Edwards on Cape Cod and decide which, if either, satisfies the requirements to house the children. He said the federal government will bear all the costs. The mayor of Chicopee, in a statement, said he was awaiting more information from the state.