Parents react to Westover housing proposal

Many say we should do everything to help these children

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Hundreds of some 50,000 immigrant children illegally crossing the US border could soon be staying right here in our backyard. Governor Patrick proposed Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee as a possible shelter, but not everyone’s on board with the idea.

Kevin Grimsley of Westfield told 22News, “We do have a lot of issues in house that I think we need to focus on before we can bring in thousands of refugees from other countries that we don’t have the money or places to put them in so I’d rather support the homeless and and children around here.”

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.

Many people 22News spoke with at Stanley Park in Westfield say we should be doing everything we can to help these children. They’re just not sure we can provide everything they need.

“We can feed them, we can clothe them we can school them, but they’re not going to have the love and affection they need from their parents. And when their kids are in dire stress and are in very stressful situations, they want their parents,” said Sally Popoli of Westfield.

Patrick called the growing numbers of children coming into the country a “humanitarian crisis.” Many of these children, who are crossing the border without their parents, are trying to escape a crisis of their own.

“Without their parents whose to say they’re life isn’t going to be violent here? Who knows who can take advantage of them here. And they need a parents who’s going to protect them because no one else will protect a child like a parent will,” said Jennifer Maynard of Huntington.

Westover could temporarily house up to a thousand children as they wait to be deported or reunited with their families.

Base representative Master Sergeant Andrew Biscoe told 22News, he’s not even sure if the base has the resources to house the children.

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