Housing illegal migrant children pits governor against mayor
July 30th, 2014
01:16 PM ET
4 months ago

Housing illegal migrant children pits governor against mayor

Washington (CNN) – As Congress debates whether to pass a bill to help deal with the influx of unaccompanied Central American minors crossing the U.S.-Mexican border, government leaders throughout the country continue to debate how to handle and where to house the children.

One place that battle is playing out is in Georgia.

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal wrote to President Barack Obama last week asking for the federal government to stem the flow of the children to the state saying it was “unconscionable that your administration” failed to inform state officials that 1,154 of the kids had been sent there.

“Your administration continues to send refugees to Georgia, while at the same time many mayors and legislators from across the political spectrum have expressed their (and my) desire to reign in the influx of refugees to the state of Georgia. It is my hope that you and your administration will respect this request,” Deal said in his letter.

Atlanta’s Mayor Kasim Reed voiced a different opinion on Tuesday saying such minors, after being detained, would be welcomed in his city.

“I’m going to send a message in no uncertain terms to the extent that these children need a safe place, and a safe haven, the city of Atlanta is going to be that,” the mayor told reporters, according to CNN affiliate WSB.

The White House also got some welcome news from other close political allies who expressed willingness to house some of the kids. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration said over the weekend it’s willing to house up to 1,000 children in city facilities.

“The influx of unaccompanied child migrants is a growing humanitarian crisis that we can no longer ignore,” Emanuel said Sunday in a statement. “While we have our own challenges at home, we cannot turn our backs on children that are fleeing dangerous conditions. We will do our part to ensure that these children are given access to services and treated fairly and humanely.”

More than 50,000 unaccompanied children have been detained so far as they’ve tried this year to cross the U.S. southern border. Federal authorities say the rate of apprehension has slowed in recent weeks.

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Illinois, a major proponent of immigration reform and someone who has strongly opposed calls for deporting the children after they are arrested, said he is proud to see Chicago "lead by example" in trying to find housing for some of the minors.

“Sometimes the greatness of our nation and our city are tested and how we treat children in danger is one of those tests," Gutiérrez said in a statement.

Earlier this month Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, another major Democratic supporter of the President, proposed two locations in the Bay State to temporarily house undocumented immigrant children, including a federal base on Cape Cod. That proposal has generated a controversy among some Massachusetts residents.

These offers follow a dust-up between another Democratic ally, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, and the White House over the issue.

O'Malley, who had criticized plans to deport many of the undocumented children, clashed with a senior White House official in a phone call after he asked some of the kids not be sent to a site in his state.

"What I said was that would not be the most inviting site in Maryland,” O'Malley told CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta. “There are already hundreds of kids already located throughout Maryland."

O'Malley was referring to his phone conversation with White House Domestic Policy Director Cecilia Muñoz. O'Malley also told CNN he was open to housing them in other sites in the state.

CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this story.


Filed under: 2014 • Georgia • Immigration
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Chris..E.Al

    Americans have gave the leftist a chance lead and just look what they have accomplished in the U.S. and around the world !

    July 30, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  2. Chris..E.Al

    Americans have gave the leftist a chance to lead and just look what they have accomplished in the U.S. and around the world .

    July 30, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. Thomas

    And Nobody talks about Birth Control , 8 billon and counting .

    July 30, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  4. Silence DoGood

    Liberal Dems – leading by example and stepping up to back morality with action
    GOP – whining about a crisis they exasurbated and won't help fix

    July 30, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. PaulCat

    Ooooh so now this Governor wants to hear from the President !!!!!
    Just like a GOP, always want to have it both ways.

    July 30, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. Silence DoGood

    @Chris..E.Al
    Americans have gave the leftist a chance lead and just look what they have accomplished in the U.S. and around the world !
    ------------
    Less killing, less US wars, targeting real not imaginary terrorists, not illegally invading countries was very well received.
    Hopefully voters were looking too, and not listening to the conservative ghost stories.

    July 30, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. Alex

    Silence DoGood:
    Liberal Dems – leading by example and stepping up to back morality with action
    GOP – whining about a crisis they exasurbated and won't help fix
    ---

    Well said! Keep the Kids – Deport the Bigots!!!

    July 30, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  8. Chris..E.Al

    The leftist rebels think they can change the weather around the world but CANT control OUR border. Wooo wee not good .

    July 30, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. Klutch Cargo

    Listen up, Taxpayers. You will have no say about these decisions. BUT, you will get the bill! And Interpreters, they will need them when they invade the local school, again at YOUR EXPENSE !! Refuse? The Lawsuits will follow, again at Guess who's Expense? And this bunch, not the end by a long shot. But, now we have the 29 Hour Work week, So, money will be in short supply. Next stop, Raising the National Debt. Not happy yet? Either a Taxpayers Revolt, or another Depression, practically guranteed !!!

    July 30, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. love344

    Ditto.. keep the kids.. deport the bigots..

    July 30, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  11. mike

    greedy GOP americans dont need these jobs lets give these jobs to immigrants who work harder than we do!

    July 30, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. bf

    Mike I hope 15 or 20 move in next door to you. A small percentage are small children the majority are 14 to 17 and some are gang members. So you and the Dems just let everyone in. An illegal just killed a cop. I hope your happy.

    July 30, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. Janet Nappylotto

    Guess who has to pay for these illegal immigrants...US taxpayers!

    Just think of all the money that can be going to our schools, roads, Vet services, etc. will be wasted on legal fees for illegal immigrants that won't even show up to court.

    July 30, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    bf says:
    July 30, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm
    Mike I hope 15 or 20 move in next door to you. A small percentage are small children the majority are 14 to 17 and some are gang members. So you and the Dems just let everyone in. An illegal just killed a cop. I hope your happy.

    So you know these people? You've met them and talked to them? How else would you know they are gang members? Oh I forgot Rush and Hannity said so.

    July 30, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |