Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) said that the Obama administration asked whether his state had facilities to house up to 1,000 illegal immigrant children at military bases or unused shopping malls.
On Friday, Patrick announced that he proposed two military bases where illegal immigrants can be housed. He said Joint Base Cape Cod in Bourne and Westover Air Base in Chicopee would have “spaces for children to sleep, eat, play and go to school,” and “the average stay for children sheltered there would be 35 days.” He said the federal government would pick up the tab.
Patrick said the illegal immigrant children will “need age-appropriate toys and books” and the “company of responsible adults, especially those who speak Spanish.” He also said the state may work with the federal government, in addition to “faith and refugee organizations.”
Patrick cited America’s history of giving refuge to various groups fleeing famine and persecution, as well as his personal faith in deciding to propose facilities in his state to house illegal immigrants.
Mayors from surrounding communities, though, raised concerns about the strain on their budgets, while officials at the military bases complained that they had not even been informed that their facilities, which do not have room to house extra people on the weekends, were being considered.