Harris: Carroll Co Army Reserve No Longer Being Considered for Housing Undocumented Children
Updated: Sunday, July 13 2014, 10:15 PM EDT
According to Congressman Andy Harris, the vacant Army Reserve in Carroll County is no longer being considered by the Department of Health and Human Services as a housing option for some of the thousands of undocumented children coming across the border.
On his Facebook page, Harris announced the decision: "My office was just notified that the site in Carroll County won't be used by HHS to house unaccompanied minors who have entered our nation illegally. This is the right decision/Flying them to MD to only turn around and send them back home makes no sense. I'm glad to see that HHS listened to my objections and those of so many local officials."
Harris, whose district includes the part of Carroll County where the reserve is located, objected to it from the beginning for many reasons.
"These unaccompanied minors who have entered our nation illegally must not be brought to Carroll County Maryland," said Harris. "Flying them to Maryland only to turn around and fly them back home is nonsensical."
"Instead, President Obama should immediately return them to their nation of origin. President Obama created this problem and now he should fix it. Should this Administration attempt to put them in Carroll County, I will use every tool at my disposal though the appropriations process to stop this," Harris said earlier this week in a statement.
The reason given that the site was no longer being considered was it would "not be appropriate" as the site is run-down and has been vacant for a time, said Chris Meekins, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Harris.
Richard Rothschild, a Carroll County Commissioner, told FOX45 he did not know the reserve was being considered until his assistant read about it in a newspaper.
More than 57,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the U.S. border from Central America since October, fleeing violence and extortion in their home countries. The Obama administration has asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funding to cope with the crisis.
At the National Governors Association meeting in Nashville this week, Governor Martin O'Malley weighed in on the current immigration discussion.
According to a Politico article about the meeting, O'Malley said in a press conference: "We are not a country that should send children away and send them back to certain death. I believe that we should be guided by the greatest power we have as a people, and that is the power of our principles. Through all of our great world religions, we are told that hospitality to strangers is an essential human dignity."
Associated Press contributed to this report.