Connecticut Mayors To Discuss Options For Taking In Immigrant Children

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UPDATE: The mayors of eleven Connecticut cities are holding a conference call on Friday to discuss the immigrant children refugee issue. A representative from Governor Dannel Malloy’s office will also be on the call. Among the cities participating are Stamford, Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford, Hamden, Meriden, New Britain, and East Hartford. A spokesman for Mayor Toni Harp in New Haven said the mayors who will be on the call were conducting a survey to determine what – if anything – they could offer federal officials to help these children if the call comes. Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch’s office released a statement:

“No decisions have been made on this front. But Mayor Finch – as an adoptee, father of four kids, and as the chief executive of our state’s largest city – believes that it’s his duty to at least explore possible ways to help kids who are in-need. He sees this as an issue about ensuring the safety and security of children, not about politics.” – Brett Broesder, spokesperson for the City of Bridgeport

Both the cities of New Haven and Bridgeport are open to taking in immigrant children, but Governor Dannel Malloy is not on board. As the Obama administration asked Congress for billions of dollars to deal with a crisis of overcrowded federal holding centers on US boarders. It’s also asking states to house immigrant children through a grant program. According to the U.S. Census Bureau there is a large community of Central American immigrants living here in the state. The feds are offering anywhere from $500,000  to $100 million dollars for any states or cities willing to help handle the surge of children who have crossed the border. Bridgeport and New Haven are considering this and looking into it deeper. This would help pay for the temporary care of more than 55,000 children nationwide who have crossed the border as Immigration determines if they can stay or a plan for the children. Gov. Malloy denied the request, he said state owned spaces are not up to the standards for the grant. But, he said he is working with the government on the issue and that it has placed more than 320 children with relatives in Connecticut. Mayors from New Haven and Bridgeport are exploring the idea with city owned properties. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, is proposing two locations there to shelter unaccompanied minors; one at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee and Joint Base Cape Cod in Bourne. Meantime, the Obama administration is looking for a way to change federal law so the children could be deported quicker to their homelands. On July 25, the President is expected to meet with the Presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras to start looking for a solution for the surge in children immigrants.

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