Plans for immigrant children housing scrapped after criticism
(WJLA) - There is outrage from thousands who fill a packed auditorium down in Lawrenceville, Virginia – about 20 miles south of Richmond.
Residents of the small town are concerned over plans to turn recently closed St. Paul’s College into a shelter for as many 500 children who have crossed the border.
Local leaders say they weren’t told of the plans, which have since been scrapped, but Virginia Senator Mark Warner says:
"The failure of federal agencies to work with the community before committing to locate this facility at St. Paul's was fundamentally wrong and disrespectful to local leaders and the residents we represent."
In a statement regarding the plan's elimination, Will Jenkins, Director of Communications for Human Services at the Department of Health and Human Services, writes:
"We have heard the concerns of many of the residents and leaders of Lawrenceville about the proposal to temporarily care for unaccompanied children at the now-closed Saint Paul’s College. We have taken this proposal off the table and will move on quickly to identify other sites to temporarily house these vulnerable children.”
Back in Washington, the administration continues to figure out how to deal with this growing problem along the U.S.-Mexico border.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters that they are mobilizing additional judges, asylum officers, and immigration attorneys to deal with the increased flow of adults and children showing up at the border.
Earlier Friday, House Speaker John Boehner urged the President to send National Guard troops to the southern border, and in a letter to President Obama on Friday, Boehner called the situation a “national security and humanitarian crisis.”
Earnest blames the surge in immigrants on a misinformation campaign by “criminal syndicates” in Central America:
"Showing up at the border illegally is not a ticket into this country."
That’s the message Vice President Joe Biden is trying to get across while stopping in several Central American countries.