Cities Across Country Refusing to Take in Migrant Children

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 17 2014 10:45 AM

Cities Across Country Refusing to Take in Migrant Children

451815896
An anti-immigrant protestor.

Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

The New York Times reports this morning on a complication in the migrant-child border crisis: As the Obama administration tries to speed up deportations and stop undocumented minors from coming to the United States in the first place, it's also having trouble housing the children who are already here.

Overwhelmed by an influx of unaccompanied minors who are fleeing violence in their home countries in Central America, federal officials are searching the country for places to house them and have been forced to scrap some proposed shelter sites in California, Connecticut, Iowa, New York and other states because of widespread opposition from residents and local officials.
Advertisement

Local objections are varied. Some residents are broadly resentful of noncitizens receiving "benefits" from U.S. taxpayers; some are worried that the immigrants will spread illness. There are "rumors" that the children will "flood local school districts." The governor of Iowa says he doesn't want to encourage more parents to send their kids to America.

The Times does note that opposition to migrant housing is not universal:

In the Dallas County town of Grand Prairie, officials had expressed skepticism about the plan to house hundreds of children at a former school. But their concerns were eased after Clay Jenkins, the county judge, and others went door to door in the school’s neighborhood and found that residents were overwhelmingly positive.
“I was blown away by their support,” said Mr. Jenkins, who is leading the effort to house 2,000 children at three sites in the county. “I don’t feel like we have to solve the border crisis for a terrified child to be shown some compassion.”

Says one 65-year-old woman who lives near a shelter in Texas: “I know it’s not these kids’ fault that they’re being housed here. I’m a softy for kids.”

Here's a local news segment about an anti-migrant protest in San Diego County:

Update, July 17, 2014: Video has been added to this post.

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Dec. 19 2014 4:15 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? Staff writer Lily Hay Newman shares what stories intrigued her at the magazine this week.