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Gov. O’Malley Talks Immigration With Faith Leaders

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland faith leaders and state agencies consider the best steps toward finding homes for thousands of immigrant children who are in the US illegally. Their second meeting with the governor took place Monday.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on their progress.

State government and diverse religions are all on the same page.

“That doesn’t happen very often with religious people, as you know. We find lots of stuff to fight about and disagree about, as you know,” said Wolfgang Herz-Lane, Central Maryland Ecumenical Council.

The search continues for families willing to take in Central American immigrant children who crossed the US border illegally.

Groups meeting with Governor Martin O’Malley agree the immigration debate should be separate from the care of children already here.

According to the federal government, more than 2,200 children are already living with families in Maryland.

“They didn’t make a splash. Some folks would want you to think we are being overrun by these hordes of children that we couldn’t possibly incorporate into our society. Well, 2,000 have already been incorporated and we didn’t even know,” Herz-Lane said.

The State Department of Human Resources is working with families caring for the children.

“Our goal is to support them any way we can—that’s everything from legal services to—potentially—clothing drives, helping with something as simple as getting movie tickets for kids so they can go see movies and do things like other kids,” said Ted Dallas, Maryland Department of Human Resources.

A prayer vigil and march is planned for Wednesday in Baltimore. Supporters hope to find homes for another 2,000 children.

The state is working to include a link on its website, maryland.gov, to give detailed information on foster care and services for these undocumented children. That link should be up soon.

Groups like Catholic Charities are considering applying for federal grants to house groups of children in appropriate facilities. That application deadline is August 5.

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