Solutions to “humanitarian crisis” involving undocumented children

Gov. Patrick and Rep. Richard Neal discuss proposals

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Our state and federal leaders are calling this situation, a “humanitarian crisis” that must be resolved.

50,000 immigrant children between the ages 3 and 17 need a place to stay, as they wait for deportation proceedings.

Congressman Richard Neal said “I think part of what we are witnessing in America today is the lack of moving forward on comprehensive immigration reform. The House has passed a version that I supported. This is a humanitarian crisis.”

Governor Patrick suggested Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee or Joint Base Cape Cod in Bourne could serve as temporary shelters.

If the proposal is accepted, Westover Air Reserve Base would house about 1,000 immigrant children who crossed the border without documentation. But Congressman Richard Neal doesn’t think Westover is the best place for them.

Neal told 22News “I think the logistics there, having a lot of knowledge about the housing because I put a lot of money in for it, and it’s used. It’s used every weekend.”

Congressman Neal did not say where else these children could go. But he agreed with Governor Patrick, something must be done to help reunite the children with their families.

“We’ve been asked as other states have to help the nation deal with it on a temporary basis. And all we’ve done is suggest that there are two destinations, and I think we have the capacity in every way, including compassion.”

If Massachusetts military bases are used, the federal government will use federal funds to run the shelter. The facility would be secured and provide space for the children to eat, sleep, play and learn.

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