Feds search for immigrant children housing in MD

Desperate to get to the United States, tens of thousands of immigrants are overwhelming immigration officials. 
 
Thousands of those crossing the U.S. Mexico border are children, as young as four, traveling alone. 
 
"It is a little bit sad that families need to find a way to just send their children alone," said Miguel Vicente, the Exec Director at Education Based Latino Outreach in Baltimore
 
Claire Hollister, Co-founder of EBLO told ABC2 the children are running from drugs and gangs.
 
"They're refugees now. These are not just unaccompanied minors, these are refugees," she said. 
 
Once they're here though, a big question becomes where do they go?
 
There are places like Naval Base Ventura County in California that are housing hundreds of immigrant children in converted care centers.
 
Federal officials were looking at a downtown Baltimore building which was once used by the Social Security Administration as possibility for temporary housing for up to 9,500 of those children.
 
Hollister said she is happy that's no longer being considered. 
 
"They're going to have to come up with a comprehensive plan. I think just moving a bunch of children into a warehouse or warehouse type setting is really inhumane. These children need shelter, they need safety, they need security and they need to have a place where they feel like they can begin their lives again," Hollister said. 
 
Yazmin Quiroz is a parent coordinator at EBLO. 
 
"People should know they are facing a very difficult situation, that they come here for many different reasons. Many of them are very valuable reasons like poverty so just to be in their shoes and understand where they come from," Quiroz said. 
 
Leaders at EBLO are not only looking for understanding, but also help.
 
They are hoping that if Maryland stays on the list for potential destinations for all these children, they will be part of that conversation.
 
"I think the state is in a good position to help. There are so many non profits in the area that could definitely assist in some way and kind of lessen the struggle that they're going through," Vicente said. 
 
The reason city leaders gave for rejecting the downtown building is that it was not equipped to house children. 
 

 

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