BOSTON (AP) — No final decision had been made on whether Massachusetts will shelter some of the unaccompanied children crossing the nation’s southern border illegally, Gov. Deval Patrick said Thursday.
Patrick did confirm that Camp Edwards military base on Cape Cod was among the possible sites being considered as a secure detention facility for the young Central Americans. The base was also used to temporarily house 235 evacuees of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“We are trying to see if there is a portion of (the base) that could be used for this purpose. Again, for a short period of time,” Patrick said during an unrelated visit to Cape Cod.
Other possible sites were under consideration, Patrick said, though he would not reveal them. He said he did not expect the state to house more than a few hundred of the migrants. More than 57,000 young people have arrived in the U.S. since the fall.
His comments echoed those he made the previous day when he called the situation at the border a “humanitarian crisis” and said that while there are limits to what the state can provide, Massachusetts should do what it can to help.
State Rep. Brad Jones, the House Republican leader, said in a statement on Thursday that he would convene a meeting next week to discuss the potential impact on Massachusetts of what he called a “national immigration crisis.”
“Now more than ever, it is imperative that we as public officials determine the full ramifications that the lack of responsible federal action will mean for taxpayers, public safety, public health, and any other state resources,” said Jones.
Local officials and law enforcement would be among those invited to the July 24 meeting at the Statehouse.
Patrick acknowledged concerns some municipal officials expressed about the availability of state funding to offset costs should some of the children enroll in public schools. He repeated that he expected the federal government to shoulder expenses associated with housing.
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