TUNICA RESORTS, Mississippi, USA – A proposal under consideration by Mississippi officials to house migrant minors who traveled unaccompanied by an adult in two former casino hotels in the northwestern part of the state has drawn opposition even from the local police chief, who has said the county lacks the resources to be able to implement the plan.

Local press reported that the refurbished facility would house up to 2,000 children and teens in the hotels that were part of the Harrah’s casino complex, which closed in 2014. The casino was demolished, and other proposals to repurpose the hotels have been unsuccessful.

County supervisors held an executive session Monday to discuss the project, but Tunica County Attorney John Keith Perry told WREG television that the supervisors had not formally endorsed the plan.

“Obviously, anything to do with migration is a sensitive issue,” Perry said.

He added that the current owners are in negotiations with a private entity interested in acquiring the property, which he said is in good condition after being closed for 10 years.

Any property that houses migrants 17 and under has to comply with federal regulations, Perry said, and his understanding is that the facility would be “self-sustaining.”

“That way, you don’t have children going out on the street for safety reasons,” he commented.

The facility would also have to comply with a court agreement that governs how the federal government treats migrant children, including limiting how long they can be confined.

Tunica County Police Chief K.C. Hamp said Wednesday that the county does not have the resources, including a hospital, to care for the migrants, and they would have to be moved to neighboring communities.

“When it comes to public safety, public health, along with child protective services, Tunica County does not have a local hospital in the event of an emergency,” Hamp said in a statement.

State Rep. Cedric Burnett, a Sardis Democrat who represents the area, also opposed the plan and said he supports efforts to redevelop the complex to improve tourism and gaming in Tunica County.

“I think that location should be used to complement the gambling industry,” Burnett told WREG television. “You know Tunica is a tourist town, we depend on gambling.”

Burnett said the profits from using the hotels to house migrants would be limited to the current owners and the people who operate the facilities.

Harrah’s opened in 1996 under the name Grand Casino. It was conceived on a grand scale and had 1,356 hotel rooms in three buildings. Its casino, now demolished, was the largest between New Jersey and Las Vegas.

Tunica’s casino market has been in decline for more than a decade. While it was once the closest gambling destination for parts of the South and the North Central region of the country, most of those states now have their own casinos. A casino in West Memphis, Arkansas, has also attracted many customers.

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