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Patrick Offers Camp Edwards, Westover Air Base As Temporary Shelters For Illegal Immigrant Children

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BOSTON (CBS/AP) – Gov. Deval Patrick announced Friday he’s proposed two locations in Massachusetts to temporarily shelter unaccompanied children who crossed the southern border into the U.S. illegally.

The governor said he offered Camp Edwards military base on Cape Cod and Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee as possible sites in response to a request from President Barack Obama to help with the immigration overload nationwide.

Patrick said the site would be selected by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and that’s he’s been assured by the federal government that all costs would be covered by Washington.

The temporary shelter would be open for four months, house up to 1,000 children and would be under federal control.

The average stay for a child, according to Patrick, would be 35 days.

While staying in the facility, the children will be processed by immigration officials for deportation, reunification or asylum.

They will not attend local public schools during their shelter period, the governor said.

Gov. Deval Patrick fought back tears as he made the announcement Friday. (WBZ-TV)

Gov. Deval Patrick fought back tears as he made the announcement Friday. (WBZ-TV)

In a news conference with religious leaders at the State House, Patrick’s voice cracked with emotion briefly as he talked about helping people in need.

“These are children alone in a foreign land,” Patrick said, adding that his love of country and lessons of faith led to this decision.

It’s not clear yet when the federal government will make a decision on the Massachusetts facilities.

Unaccompanied children from Central America have been arriving at the U.S. southern border by the thousands, with 90,000 expected by the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30.

They’re trying to escape gang activity and violence, but they’re also drawn by rumors that once here, they can stay.

Raw: Governor Patrick Explains Decision To Offer Temporary Shelters For Illegal Immigrant Children

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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