By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Gov. Martin O’Malley takes some heat over his stance on the thousands of children who have entered the United States illegally.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on how Maryland figures into the equation.

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Gov. O’Malley publicly urges the White House to welcome the tens of thousands of immigrant children who have crossed the border illegally.

“We are Americans and we do not return refugee kids who find themselves on our door step back into war-torn or famine-wrecked places where they will face certain death,” said O’Malley.

Later in what may sound like a contradiction, O’Malley privately urged the president’s domestic policy adviser not to house any of the children at the former Army Reserve station in Westminster.

Then over the weekend someone spray painted anti-immigration graffiti on a wall of the proposed shelter, which state police are investigating as a hate crime.

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O’Malley says there are more suitable places for the children.

“I’m far more concerned about children being penned up and cooped up in the conditions that look a lot more like kennels than the way a humane country should be treating refugee kids,” he said.

The reserve station has been rejected, but the governor tells CNN that Maryland is still working to find shelters.

“And it’s my belief consistent with federal law that the best form of housing is the least restrictive setting namely in homes with relatives ideally, or secondarily in foster homes or other sort of temporary housing,” said O’Malley.

The state is currently looking for licensed providers to care for some of the children.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are still considering an emergency request from President Obama calling for $3.7 billion to help deal with the immigration crisis.

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