BALTIMORE - Maryland has once again entered the national debate over what to do with the slew of unaccompanied children making their way to the U.S. from Central America.
Catholic Charities announced its intention to apply to federal officials for wanting to care for about 50 children at St. Vincent's Villa, a residential facility on Dulaney Valley Road in Baltimore County.
"We decided we had something to offer,” said William J. McCarthy Jr., director of Catholic Charities. “We decided we can help children on a reasonable scale…
“When we look at our campus in Timonium that is designed to care for kids and has been caring for children dating back to the 1960s, we determined we have capacity and room that we can provide services for unaccompanied children or any children with needs that comes to Baltimore.”
U.S. officials estimate that 57,000 unaccompanied children who have arrived at the border since October. This has forced federal officials to help shelter these children while working to figure out the children’s immigration status.
Multiple possibilities for sheltering the children included sites in Baltimore City and Carroll County; each of which drew concerns from some elected officials and area residents.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake expressed concern over the use of a former Social Security office in the city while Gov. Martin O’Malley and Rep. Andy Harris opposed the use of an empty Army Reserve Center in Westminster.
However, both Rawlings-Blake and O’Malley do support helping find an appropriate location for the children.
O'Malley has also reportedly clashed with the White House over the issue.
Days after O'Malley criticized a White House proposal to deal with the immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, reports surfaced of a leaked phone call between the governor and a top Obama aide.
The details appeared to make O'Malley look like a hypocrite: He publicly criticized the White House's calls to speed up deportations of children, while pleading with the administration to not send them to one site in his state.
O'Malley, a possible presidential contender, has publicly accused the White House of leaking the conversation.