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Malloy Defends Decision On Immigrant Children

by Hugh McQuaid | Jul 25, 2014 12:26pm
(14) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Immigration

Hugh McQuaid Photo

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy

Despite public backlash, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Friday his administration made the right call when it declined a federal request to house thousands of immigrant children in a state facility.

The Democratic governor, who is seeking re-election in November, said he did not believe the immigration issue poses a political problem for him.

“Putting children in buildings that have mold, asbestos, and lead would be a far bigger problem,” he told reporters at a press conference following a meeting of the state Bond Commission.

Earlier this month, Malloy denied a federal request to house as many as 2,000 migrant children from Central America in a vacant section of the Southbury Training School.

The administration argued the space was unsuitable but the decision has since sparked a protest in New Haven, a letter from the legislature’s largely-Democratic Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, as well as criticisms from two perspective Republican challengers.

Malloy said he welcomes the argument.

“If I have a [political] problem, and it’s from someone who wants to institutionalize children, it’s a problem I’m willing to have,” Malloy said.

The governor frames the issue as a choice between placing children with family members or “warehousing” them in state institutions. So far, the federal government has placed 325 children in family settings in Connecticut. That number is significantly less than the number they had hoped to place at Southbury, but Malloy insisted it is the better option.

The governor compared the process to the state Department of Children and Families efforts to place more children with family members.

“We know that when a child is placed with a family member, temporarily or long term, they do better… The idea that we would not exhaust every opportunity to do that, made no sense to me at the very outset,” he said.

Others have framed the issue on different terms. Republican gubernatorial candidate John McKinney has suggested the governor’s denial of the federal request was an election year political calculation. McKinney has pointed to the Malloy’s support of policies giving undocumented residents drivers licenses and better access to higher education.

“Now on the eve of an election, he makes a political decision at the height of hypocrisy to potentially abandon these kids,” McKinney said during a recent debate.

Malloy said the decision not to place children in a state institution was not at odds with his support of immigration issues. He said most people agree with him when asked to choose between institutional placement or family placement.

“My position is perfectly clear,” he said. “In fact, I’ve been fighting a long-term cause in my own state to make sure that children who are within our foster care [system] are actually placed with family members. Why would I advocate anything differently for any other children?”

During a protest this week in New Haven, demonstrators called on Malloy to utilize New Haven’s former Gateway Community College site. The administration signalled Tuesday it would explore that option, but on Friday Malloy said that site seemed unsuitable as well.

“I will point out that that building does not have sprinklers either. So it probably doesn’t meet what [federal officials] are looking for,” Malloy said. “It doesn’t have sufficient windows, it doesn’t have a sprinkler system—but we’ve made them aware of it.” 

At the moment, he said the feds have not made additional requests to place children in state facilities.

Malloy said he would be “more than happy to lead a national discussion” on the placement of immigrant children. Asked whether he believed President Barack Obama had failed to adequately address the immigration issue, Malloy blamed Congress.

“I think the Congress of the United States has failed on immigration. I think the Tea Party has failed us all on immigration. As I stand here today, the folks who are belly-aching about immigration policy still haven’t given the president the money he’s asked for to tighten the borders,” he said.

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(14) Comments

posted by: Joebigjoe | July 25, 2014  1:38pm

For once I agree with Malloy.

posted by: RogueReporterCT | July 25, 2014  2:23pm

RogueReporterCT

Not everyone can be placed with a family member, whether it’s a DCF case originating in CT or an immigration case on the border. The DCF family preference policy is applied to fewer than half of the cases that come through the agency’s door. The fact that the state was caught unprepared for this one doesn’t let us off the hook. At the very least, it is a wake up call that we need to bring a facility up to speed to be ready for a natural disaster, emergency, or other contingency. Danno: You only get to say it’s the right call if you do the right thing.

posted by: NoNonsense2014 | July 25, 2014  2:28pm

I’m with Malloy on this one. I don’t see how this is a “political” decision on Malloy’s part. He has ticked off so many people—many, if not most, in his own base—with his decision. Of course, had he said yes, he would have ticked off a whole bunch of different people.

posted by: Chien DeBerger | July 25, 2014  2:40pm

““I think the Congress of the United States has failed on immigration. I think the Tea Party has failed us all on immigration. As I stand here today, the folks who are belly-aching about immigration policy still haven’t given the president the money he’s asked for to tighten the borders,” Malloy said.”“
==========
Talking points check:
1.) Congress meaning is at House fault, check
2.) Those rascally teabaggers, check.
3.) Need more money, check.
4.) Bush’s fault…....waiting

HST - I’m rolling one up brother!

posted by: SocialButterfly | July 25, 2014  3:06pm

This is he first time that
Gov. Malloy he did not agree with the stance of Pres. Obama but he did so by blaming the U. S. Congress, just to be “politically correct.” Who says Malloy isn’t a shrewd politician?

posted by: dano860 | July 25, 2014  4:04pm

As long as they put them someplace where they can be picked up when it comes time to load the C-5’s, C-141’s and the C-130’s.
The amount of money Barry is requesting is not for closing the borders alone. He wants more to go to the illegals.
But, Dannel is right on this one.

posted by: art vandelay | July 25, 2014  7:01pm

art vandelay

Ditto!

posted by: art vandelay | July 25, 2014  7:03pm

art vandelay

It’s not over yet.  Illegal Immigrant activists will fight through the courts to get the illegal children into Connecticut one way or another.  Remember we have “Sanctuary Cities” in Connecticut who will demand they be allowed entry.
The LEFT and Socialists NEVER give up until they get what they want.

posted by: Commuter | July 26, 2014  5:57am

Here’s all you need to know about this man:
“If I have a [political] problem, and it’s from someone who wants to institutionalize children, it’s a problem I’m willing to have,” Malloy said ... “I’ve been fighting a long-term cause in my own state to make sure that children who are within our foster care [system] are actually placed with family members. Why would I advocate anything differently for any other children?”

That’s leadership.

posted by: One and Done | July 26, 2014  6:58am

When he’s unemployed on 11/5, Dannel can blame the tea party then too.  Maybe then he will understand people are tired of the taxation.  Maybe then he will realize that’s what the tea party is and not some angry anti immigration mob.

posted by: Politijoe | July 26, 2014  8:17am

Politijoe

RogueReporter you cited ” The DCF family preference policy is applied to fewer than half of the cases that come through the agency’s door.”  This is incorrect, at this point that number is at apx 75%.

You also stated ” The fact that the state was caught unprepared for this one doesn’t let us off the hook. At the very least, it is a wake up call that we need to bring a facility up to speed to be ready for a natural disaster, emergency, or other contingency”

Are you seriously suggesting the state should embark on a policy that brings all or even most abandoned state-owned properties up to code for the unforeseen possibility of children crossing our borders?

Bottom line…disagreeing with Malloy and actually advocating for children to be placed in unsafe locations is disingenuous.  Common sense suggest we should not house children in unsafe environments with asbestos, mold and lead and no sprinkler systems this is just incomplete thinking.

To suggest we should have these abandoned state properties up to code and at the ready for natural disasters doesn’t seem to be a fiscally responsible approach.

This is ultimately a humanitarian crisis, that has been exacerbated by our current do-nothing Congress. If the state can assist lets do so with planning that protects these children, remains fiscally sound and consistent with the stated goals of Gov. Malloy and DCF.

posted by: SocialButterfly | July 26, 2014  10:39am

Politijoe: You only blame Congress but as a faithful Democrat don’t even mention Pres. Obama “and leave him as an innocent bystander.”  Don’t let your loving donkey “kick you on your behind.”

posted by: Joebigjoe | July 26, 2014  10:59am

Joe, you said “This is ultimately a humanitarian crisis, that has been exacerbated by our
current do-nothing Congress.’

I disagree. There is no humanitarian crisis other than the one they created by telling people in central America to get here soon and sat back and said nothing when the media down there started encouraging people to get to the US.

This was compounded by the deal with the Mexican government to allow these people to come through Mexico without being stopped the way the Mexicans had done previously because they too didn’t want M13 gang members coming in so have been very tough on their southern border.

Maybe you are blaming Congress for not passing immigration reform. What was the number 1 reason why they haven’t? It was that we want the border secured first and have guarantees that it would be secured. After that we can all agree to disagree but something less than sending people back home would have been passed.

Now, your side has responded that the border is secure but America now sees that the Dems have been lying about that and now don’t trust that if a deal is cut for the existing people that there wont be a mad rush for the borders by Mexicans, Central Americans and Middle Easterners to suddenly try to become legal here under some new deal.

Shut the darn border down. Lock it down and keep it locked down because a country without a border is at risk for no longer being a country. Find out where the order came to the doctors, nurses and border patrol agents that if they took and pictures of the situation down there they would go to jail. Put that person in jail the rest of their lives because I think that kind of order is treason, and then we can get a deal on immigration.

posted by: Politijoe | July 26, 2014  9:34pm

Politijoe

We can point fingers at Obama,  quibble about semantics and play partisan politics forever. Fact is we have a major humanitarian crisis on our border, the question is how do we help these children…... Send them back to abject poverty and violence and to a life so desperate a parent would send their child alone to cross the Mexcican desert in the middle of July with little water or no food. A future so bleak your childs life becomes an acceptable risk. A reality thats so unimaginable for most Americans, yet seemingly so easy to pass judgement on the plight of these immigrant families and their children, revealing a perspective that is so limited, a bias so hardened and an empathy gap so familiar,  one no longer even recognizes it for what it is.

For the record, I have not laid all the blame on republicans. What I stated was the situation has been exacerbated by the current
do-nothing Republican Congress who have politized the process. However the Democratic inatives-NAFTA and CAFTA both bear significant reasonsabilities in this issue. Let’s also include the Southwest ranchers and farmers who predominately registrar Republican and yet consistently lobby against border control because it interferes with their profit motives.

Let’s at least agree everyone’s hands are dirty and that our current congress is not taking this crisis seriously and in fact is making this situation worse for political gain. Then perhaps we begin to address the crisis and begin to move forward.