Family Detention Center Slated For SuperFund Site at AirForce Base

A woman who identified herself as Jennifer sits with her son Jaydan at the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in McAllen, Texas.

"It is apparently not enough to cage children and tear families apart. The Trump Administration's newest proposal seeks to build a detention center on a toxic landfill superfund site, at Goodfellow Airforce Base; exposing children and families to lead, arsenic, benzene, PFAS, and other chemicals associated with increased risk of cancer and nerve damage." Mark Magaña, GreenLatinos, President & CEO


In August of 2018, GreenLatinos joined immigration, civil rights, and environment organizations; represented by Earthjustice in filing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Trump administration. The suit came is response to the administration's proposal to build a migrant detention center at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas; on top of a superfund sites. 

Earthjustice released a report highlighting the damaging health effects of building a migrant detention center on a former landfill, and outlining long term impacts to individuals.



  • Lead in the area was previously found at levels 27 times higher than U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's standard for lead in soil for play areas.
  • Lead in groundwater exceeds U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s safety limit by over 20 percent.
  • The nearby fuel storage facility shows about a dozen chemicals associated with liver problems, increased risk of cancer and development delays in children.
  • Nine locations near the site exhibit PFAS contaminationPFAS is a group of toxic chemicals that can hamper thyroid and immunological system function and increase one’s risk of cancer.
  • Vapor intrusion in the area is worrisome as vapors (or gases) from the dozens of chemicals can penetrate buildings through cracks in the foundation and openings for utility lines. These contaminants pose threats to indoor air quality.
  • Before housing for children is built at the Air Force Base, soil may have to be removed, groundwater tested, waste sites thoroughly removed or covered, and the commercial/industrial restrictions will need to be lifted to allow residential housing for children.

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