Maryland Continues To Look For Solution To Immigrant Housing Crisis

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland continues to work toward finding homes for some of the tens of thousands of Central American children in the country illegally. Governor Martin O’Malley met with religious leaders Monday and has asked Marylanders to remember we’re all in this together.

Pat Warren has more.

Immigrant children are forcing the question of government policies and compassion for the needy.

“I’m hoping that compassion will prevail,” said Congressman Elijah Cummings.

Cummings and O’Malley both want to change the conversation from illegal border crossing to humanitarian treatment.

“We’re just now getting our heads, as a community, around the many different things we can do as individuals and as faith organizations that can help alleviate this humanitarian crisis,” said O’Malley.

So far, attempts to find large scale temporary housing in federal facilities in Maryland have failed and Maryland Congressman Andy Harris believes the best option is to return unaccompanied minors to their home countries.

“What we ought to do is we ought to send them back home to their families, where they came from. They came from their families in Central America who sent them here. We ought to actually just send them back home, reunite them with their families,” Harris said.

“This is not about politics and it should not be about politics. This is about children trying to find a better life,” said Cummings.

Governor O’Malley met Monday with faith and community groups to find temporary homes for a number of children in Maryland. The state is working on a partnership with those groups to provide for children while their cases are heard.

“The fact of the matter is that, as a nation of 300 million people, we can easily accommodate these children in foster care placement and other appropriate settings without having to abandon our principles as a nation and start building concentration camps,” O’Malley said.

Federal law requires kids be placed in homes that are bilingual, but the governor says that shouldn’t stop others from supporting families that meet the government qualifications.

Federal law requires that immigrants not coming from Mexico or Canada receive a hearing to determine if they qualify for asylum in the US.

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