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Blumenthal Will Offer Insight After Visit To Mexican Border

by Jhansi Katechia | Jul 18, 2014 3:24pm
(20) Comments | Commenting has expired

Courtesy of Blumenthal's Twitter page

Sen. Richard Blumenthal and a delegation visiting one of the detention centers

(Updated 6 p.m.) When he returns from the border, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal would like to sit down with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to offer his firsthand insight on the situation and discuss ways Connecticut can play a constructive role in immigration reform.

Blumenthal traveled to the Texas-Mexico border Friday with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske. They visited the local border patrol center where immigrants are being held.

The senator said he hoped to find solutions for a situation he described as “heart wrenching.”

“Hundreds of children sleep on concrete floors without blankets, where they are kept in cells for possibly days,” Blumenthal said.

Earlier this month, the Malloy administration denied the federal government’s request to house some of the thousands of illegal immigrants fleeing Central America.

“I look forward to sitting down with the governor and his administration so I can give him the insight that I have gained,” Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal said he would like to hear the governor’s concerns and offer his insight based on his visit to the border.

At an unrelated event Friday, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, said she hasn’t spoken to the governor, but hopes the state can offer to help these children.

“It is my hope that Connecticut is going to participate in trying to deal with this,” DeLauro said. We have a humanitarian crisis, a serious humanitarian crisis, so I’m hopeful that Connecticut will be engaged in participating and in helping to provide assistance here.”

But Malloy’s administration has been pretty adamant that it doesn’t believe the state owns a building that fits the federal government’s request.

Mark Ojakian, Malloy’s chief of staff, told the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus on Friday that the state doesn’t have a suitable location for the children based on the criteria provided by the federal government. The caucus sent a letter to Malloy Thursday urging him to find space.

“The request for assistance was quite narrow,” Ojakian wrote in his response to the caucus. “Among other requirements, the agencies were seeking facilities that contained no less than 90,000 square feet of open space, which needed to be ready and available for immediate use. The facilities also needed to be ADA and NEPA compliant, with additional outside space as needed for trailers that hold showers, restrooms, and kitchens.”

It was initially thought that the Southbury Training School, which houses developmentally disabled adults, may fit the criteria, but Ojakian said a review of the property found that’s not the case.

“All vacant properties owned by the State were found to be either far too small to accommodate the needs of GSA and HHS, were not ADA or NEPA compliant, and/or they contained mold, asbestos, lead, or other serious problems which would require extensive renovation before they could be occupied (especially by children),” Ojakian wrote.

He said the Department of Children and Families is working with the federal government to coordinate “where possible, the temporary placements of individual unaccompanied minors who have family relations in Connecticut.”

Some Latino advocacy groups have said there are more than 30 immigrant children who fled their country staying with relatives in Connecticut.

Meanwhile, on the border Friday, Blumenthal spoke to some of the immigrant children at various holding facilities, where he was able to hear their stories.

“Many of these children were put on buses and trains by relatives to reach this country and escape horrific conditions of torture and abuse,” Blumenthal said.

Most of the stories center around criminal cartels and gangs that put these children at risk, according to Blumenthal.

“I am seeking to think through what solutions there can be to help address the needs of every child with fairness and due process,” Blumenthal said.

For one, Blumenthal would like to formulate specific measures that will help to bring law enforcement to these countries in turmoil.

“These countries need to eliminate the criminal operations that inhumanely exploit and brutalize children,” Blumenthal said.

He would also like to see more resources such as food, shelter, and recreation brought to the immigrants in the holding facilities.

Christine Stuart and Mary O’Leary of the New Haven Register contributed to this report.

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(20) Comments

posted by: Jesterr72 | July 18, 2014  4:31pm

It’s sad, but we need to send them back ASAP before they overwhelm our capacity to deal with them.  The US cannot take care of all these countries’ kids (AND accompanying adults).  The system is being crushed little by little - and the taxpayer is tapped out.  Seal the damn border.

posted by: DanofiveO | July 18, 2014  5:06pm

Dear Senator Blumenthal,
I am preparing to leave for North Dakota as I have not found adequate work since 2008 to feed and raise my family here in CT. Our savings are completely gone and if I don’t make the move we will lose our home. I want to make sure you don’t forget how horrible it is here at home where you come from. You see I used to employ 14 people in 2008 here in CT By 2010 it was down to just me. I tried multiple times to rekindle the business throwing good money after bad. I even went door to door for work but still diminishing returns. I had no other choice and I made the decision to move the business out of state at a great expense. After 5 jobs it slowed down there too.  Our state sir is at the bottom of the bottom for the economy, job creation and has the highest taxes and energy costs in the country. The policies you support are not making things any better in fact they have eroded our freedoms and killed off the middle class. I should hope that you will stand behind the enforcement of our laws and work hard for connecticuts poor, kids and veterans who are withering on the vine and struggling to hang on by deporting illegal aliens from our country. A good start is by streamlining the process. All illegals should be deported swiftly as Mexican and Canadians nationals are. Application for refugee status to be made from their home country only. People born here by non citizens are not citizens period. Use economic sanctions on the countries sending these people here and use the money to secure our borders and support those in line for legal immigration only. A recent survey at the same border facility you visited of the illegals found most weren’t fleeing anything but they were told they would be able to stay if they came so please do your due diligence here and don’t purposely mislead anyone.
The flow of illegals will stop when they realize they will be sent back and only then. Removing the 10-30 million here illegally will create as many jobs, boost our economy, lower our healthcare and educational costs greatly.
A much needed boost for CT
Why should anyone follow the law if such exception is made for this scourge?
There are wretched stories of hunger and starvation here in CT and you should look and focus here at home. Look to Lynn Massachusetts to see how damaging bringing these kids in to our towns will be. Be Strong ! You need to help our citizens first and those patiently waiting to come to our country legally.  Please help us! Abandon your pandering to unions and the rich and help us! I can’t find work in the state I live in and your down on the Mexican border hopefully trying to stop this invasion and erosion of America.
If I’m lucky I hope to see my family every 4-6 weeks for a few days and will miss them terribly. Focus on helping Connecticut become prosperous again and back to the place we want to BE not FLEE

posted by: QuestionMark | July 18, 2014  7:22pm

Obama declined to go there.
Why isn’t Blumenthal reporting to the president, instead of Gov. Malloy? No chain of command to the commander-in-chief?  Makes it look like a Democratic political junket.

posted by: Christopher55 | July 18, 2014  8:43pm

Perhaps Blumenthal & DeLauro will be among the first to volunteer to take some of these kids into their own homes and pay for their education, clothes, food, legal expenses, etc;.

posted by: dano860 | July 19, 2014  7:14am

“These countries need to eliminate the criminal operations that inhumanely exploit and brutalize children,” Blumenthal said.
Really? As MS13 goes to the released children and signs them up to join their gang. They are disposable gang members at that point.
This and the fact they are carrying all diseases they we have no need for.
With the billions we are already giving those countries to stem violence one would think we have already done enough, fill the C5’s and send them back home.

posted by: ASTANVET | July 19, 2014  7:35am

The welfare state and open borders cannot exist together.  That is just economic fact.  What is more compassionate?  Sending someone back to re-unify with their family in their country, or bussed to god knows where to rely on tax payers to house/feed/care for them?  Another trumped up crisis intended to divide the American people, I hope people are not dumb enough to fall for it - sorry that our Senator already has!

posted by: shinningstars122 | July 19, 2014  8:51am

shinningstars122

I applaud the Senator for jumping into this issue and trying to see it from all sides.

It is greatly saddening to this commentator to witness the fact that our country is becoming a nation of xenophobes.

I mean honestly the outrage directed at these children, and there are only 9000 currently, is an insult to common decency.

posted by: shinningstars122 | July 19, 2014  9:41am

shinningstars122

This one is for all the haters that I am sure will be posting soon.

http://billmoyers.com/2014/07/18/child-migrants-have-been-coming-to-america-alone-since-ellis-island/

posted by: justsayin | July 19, 2014  4:46pm

Shinningstars no one is mad at the kids.. We are mad at the administration’s handling or lack there of about the situation. The whole thing cries foul someone should.look at that.

posted by: Chien DeBerger | July 19, 2014  5:01pm

I would love to be a fly on the wall for that meeting….on second thought, no forget it.

posted by: Chien DeBerger | July 19, 2014  6:28pm

Administration Hid Huge Number of Adults, Families Crossing Border http://townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2014/07/19/administration-hid-huge-number-of-adults-families-crossing-border-n1863909

posted by: art vandelay | July 19, 2014  7:10pm

art vandelay

@shiningstars122,
How many children will you be taking into your house?

posted by: QuestionMark | July 19, 2014  8:18pm

Christoper65:  Blumenthal & DeLauro are takers. not givers. Like the Geico commercial:“Everybody knows that!” They believe in the saying:  “The Lord helps those who help themselves.”
Shame on the voters who voted for these self-serving politicians.
they epitomize being “careless with the truth.”
Chris Murphy is also a charter member of this political act. Only shinningstars applauds Blumenthal as a loyal Democrat to a losing politician for his constituents

posted by: shinningstars122 | July 21, 2014  6:01am

shinningstars122

@Danofivo

I was very move by reading your story and know that pain first hand as I had a similar story as a result of being caught up in the great recession.

My ending was different, although its not over yet.

I was able to go back to school and earn a degree and begin a new career and are able to stay, and actually prospered more because of it, in the state I was born into and grown up in.

I do wish you the best of luck @DanofiveO although the work in North Dakota is tough and the living conditions are wicked expensive.

I agree we need to take care of our own first and that has been the struggle since the recession.

It not because of a lack of resources that is for sure.

Who guys do you think lobbies Congress and the President constantly to minimize their responsibility and taxes?

It is Wall Street and the corporations who had the major hand in creating and starting the great recession.

These plutocrats did not bat an eye when close to 10 million people lost their jobs and the millions who would eventually lose their homes in foreclosure as a result of unemployment.

We were not accomplices folks in these crimes.

We were the victims and from reading @DanofieO’s story many are still are.

This country was built on principles and the foundation of equal opportunity.

This immigration problem will test where we actually are as country.

People like @DanofiveO, and myself, were called all sorts of names by the GOP and teaparty members of Congress and they did squat to help us.

They have no idea what it is like to not be able to work and support your family.

But as long as those corporations and WS keep writing those checks, our needs will continue to be at the bottom of the list.

These people love it when we get sooo distracted, and enraged, from the real problems of our society.

Keep chasing that red flag guys.

posted by: QuestionMark | July 21, 2014  8:36am

Why is Blumenthal going to report to Gov. Malloy, and not reporting to Pres. Obama, since the president chose to avoid visiting the border area so he could go campaigning for cash for the national Democratic deficit campaign fund north of the border instead?.

posted by: GBear423 | July 21, 2014  2:53pm

GBear423

Why is Connecticut being asked/considered to house the illegals coming from the Southern United States Border? Its not our problem. Its a federal and southern border state problem. Bussing or flying the refugees all the way to New England is far from cost effective.  I am certain there must be empty office/business parks not being used between California and Texas. Get the Military to start filling those places with cots and humanitarian services.  We do this out in the field with tents (Haiti, India, etc), it would be even easier to do so with civilian buildings. There is no reason people should be sleeping on a concrete floor. Ridiculous.

posted by: shinningstars122 | July 21, 2014  9:34pm

shinningstars122

You all might want to read this piece.
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118759/nra-and-gun-trafficking-are-adding-fuel-border-migrant-crisis

posted by: QuestionMark | July 22, 2014  9:48am

Obama did not have the time or chosen necessity to chide Vladimir Putin over the Malaysian airliner murderous destruction, as he concentrates on campaign financing for the national Democratic Party, going on a three-day-trip out west this week to collect money for a campaign treasury he put in deficit to win the last election. Democratic Party fundraising is Obama’s number one priority as he declined to go to the border last week to assess the immigration problem, so he could go north of the border to do Democratic Party election campaign fundraising at taxpayer expense. Our national liberal national news media will not expose this scam and Obama as a puppet of Democratic politics, very far removed from the statesman we need in the oval office chair. Does anyone care?

posted by: franchi12ga | July 23, 2014  2:48pm

shinningstars122, you were asked a question.
How many of the illegal children are you taking in to your home?

posted by: QuestionMark | July 23, 2014  6:48pm

Our real problem is that we are not getting the real story and the eventual burdening cost to our country already drowning in massive debt. Our elected leadership appears to be working systenatically to bury us?  If our leaders are friends, we need no enemies. We need a change in our current regime before it’s too late for all of us.