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Black & Puerto Rican Caucus Asks The Governor To Reconsider Housing Immigrant Children

by | Jul 17, 2014 6:13pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Immigration, Housing, Law Enforcement

CTNJ file photo The legislature’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus wrote Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Thursday to ask him to reconsider his decision denying the federal government’s request to house some of the thousands of immigrant children fleeing Central America.

Rep. Juan Candelaria, D-New Haven, said they understand the Southbury Training School, which houses developmentally disabled adults, may not be suitable but urged the governor to find another location in Connecticut.

“While the rhetoric of blame for the current situation of these innocent children rises, we ask you to reconsider your refusal to provide assistance to the federal government in alleviating this humanitarian emergency,” the caucus wrote in their letter to Malloy.

The humanitarian emergency Candelaria is referring to is the crisis at the U.S. border with Mexico, where unaccompanied minors in the tens of thousands have been detained by immigration officials.

“We understand your concerns with the Southbury Training School and do not pretend to minimize them. However, we cannot keep our arms crossed while these detention centers continue to overflow and these children suffer in the direst of conditions through no fault of their own,” the caucus wrote.

Candelaria said this is not a time to be pointing fingers or waiting until Congress can decide whether to consider President Barack Obama’s supplemental request for comprehensive immigration reform. He said these children are here now in the United States and they need help.

The Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance made a similar request of Malloy in a press release Thursday.

They said Malloy’s decision not to house the children means Connecticut is the only New England state that hasn’t accepted the federal government’s proposal. On Thursday, the Cape Cod Times reported that Massachusetts Gov. Patrick Deval was considering using Camp Edwards as a place to house these children.

“We are disappointed by his actions and demand that he reverse course and seek alternative sites to house these children. This would come at no cost to Connecticut taxpayers — all that would be required is for the governor and his administration to be compassionate and lend a helping hand,” the Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance said.

Mike Stroebel, a lease contracting officer with the U.S. General Services Administration, told the state earlier this month that if Connecticut was able to provide a site and approval, “the federal Government will fund the necessary improvements and maintenance of the facilities in the rent paid to Connecticut or by extension OPM.”

The cost to Connecticut for agreeing to make the facility available “would be associated with maintaining the viability of the facilities while in use,” he said.

The Connecticut immigrant Rights Alliance argued that an overwhelming number of Connecticut individuals and religious organizations have reached out to us expressing a desire to house and help these immigrants. In fact, some Connecticut groups already are assisting Central American children, adolescents, and women who have arrived in our state fleeing violence and have cases pending in immigration court.

But the Malloy administration, in email correspondence with the federal government earlier this month, made it clear that it does not have the capacity to help these individuals.

“The vacant property that the State of Connecticut has is too small to accommodate your needs (which clearly must be at least several hundred thousand square feet of building space alone) and typically in a state of disrepair to the point where a certificate of occupancy would be difficult to obtain,” Patrick O’Brien, of the Office of Policy and Management, told the federal government on July 14.  “Indeed, many existing structures are beyond salvage and require environmental remediation and demolition.”

O’Brien goes on to explain that under Connecticut law even if the state had surplus property it wasn’t using it would be forced to make sure no other state agency or municipality was interested in acquiring it. Then, the property would go out to public bid.

“Obviously, our hearts go out to the children in this situation,” Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba said Thursday in response to the caucus’ letter. “But we don’t currently have the ability to meet this request. What this really speaks to is the absolute necessity for Congress to pass the President’s emergency supplemental request and comprehensive immigration reform.”

Read more about the experience of a handful of children from Guatemala who made the journey to the United States and are now living with relatives in New Haven.

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(16) Archived Comments

posted by: RogueReporterCT | July 17, 2014  10:16pm


Werner Oyanadel, Director of the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission (LPRAC) told the Hartford Courant that the decision not to use the Southbury training facility to house these children was a “missed opportunity.”

posted by: art vandelay | July 17, 2014  10:36pm

art vandelay

I completely agree with Representative Candelaria and the Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance.  Connecticut should demonstrate compassion by allowing these unfortunate innocent refugees into our state.
Connecticut should also grant full residency to each refugee and allow them full access to our educational system by allowing them to attend any school they so desire in any community within our state.  Refugees of college age should be allowed free tuition to any state school. The SNAP program as well as our new Access Health should also be made available.  Children of driving age should also be given free drivers licenses.  We should also include free access to our bus & train systems.  Connecticut could also accommodate more refugees by opening up our facilities in Mansfield, Norwich Fairfield Hills and the old Meriden Boys School.  Malloy is making a huge mistake.

posted by: EveT | July 18, 2014  6:09am

“the federal Government will fund the necessary improvements and maintenance of the facilities…” Do they really expect us to buy notion that federal money is “at no cost” to us? Federal money comes from our taxes, same as state money or city money.

posted by: oliviahuxtable | July 18, 2014  6:11am

Go ahead, Dannel.He won’t, though. Would be politically damning. Polls overwhelmingly show no support for these illegal aliens.

posted by: MomofTwins1970 | July 18, 2014  6:59am

No! Just No!! Don’t get me wrong, I am compassionate to their plight, their horrific circumstances but why should we as a state,  a country take care of someone else’s children when we can’t even take care of our own. We have children that are homeless, that won’t eat a meal tonight much less anything else and yet the fees want to house these kids?  In CT? These reps oughta be ashamed of themselves!  Worry about the American citizen, the American child who will go hungry tonight, who will sleep another night under a bridge, in a car.  smh this whole thing truly disgusts me I hope the governor doesn’t cave to demand, he was right to say no!

posted by: GBear423 | July 18, 2014  7:03am


Think old Juan and friends should put a little more thought into an issue before submitting a letter to the Governor… where is the proposal? Putting it all on Malloy’s team to find a place and money and public support is frankly pretty weak.  Not impressed with a bunch of whiners with no solutions. We need better representation for the Hispanic community than this.

posted by: DanofiveO | July 18, 2014  7:18am

No more, no more, no more! This self righteous entitlement should be met with swift deportation period. Enough is enough the criminals must go! This is not a new crisis this has been going on for years. They are fleeing poverty. The families are paying thousands to send their minors because they believe they can stay here. They cannot. Why do some believe that it is ok to circumvent our laws and that they are more deserving than many of those from the same countries trying to become citizens legally? Ask Lynn Massachusetts whether it’s “not costing them anything”.  Especially in. Connecticut where of all our new Jobs three quarters were government jobs we are in a crisis. Our children, homeless and veterans are in dire straits and need the scant resources we have left.  Illegals even after committing crimes are released again and again to re offend. Citizens are screened and felt up before flying, illegals are welcomed on board domestic flights with zero documents. 1.) SECURE THE BORDER IMMEDIATLY!  2.) Deport ALL illegals using local state and federal law enforcement 3.) No free ride home. Use economic sanctions against these countries to pay for it and punish the countries facilitating it. 4.) Add money for consulates to process Legitimate refugees applications 5.) Crack down with felony charges on employers, landlords and anyone facilitating or harboring these fugitives of justice. 6.) All illegals caught at the border should face the same deportation rules as Mexicans and Canadians.
As Americans we encourage legal immigration. We are furious that those here illegally flout our laws, take our jobs and steal our resources with a sense of entitlement while our poor, homeless, veterans and kids are struggling to make it.  You will hear every excuse, “that they are doing work we can’t or won’t do, that they are are fleeing persecution” and on and on. There is no doubt that removing the 10-30 million illegal criminals ( breaking the laws = criminals ) would ease our health care costs our school budgets and return prosperity to our country.
We are being invaded, we are under siege, we need to take our country back from the criminals and the democrat lawmakers that are in collusion and facilitating the demise of the United States of America.

posted by: justsayin | July 18, 2014  9:38am

No means no, we are done, move on. Dan did good, for once, even if it was politically driven.

posted by: SocialButterfly | July 18, 2014  10:25am

It’s plain and simple.  The majority of voters do not want it. Case closed.

posted by: Bethy | July 18, 2014  11:11am


Oh “heck naw”! Excuse me “Puerto Rican and Black Caucuss”: I don’t thinks so. Let us NOT forget that their are way more than 2,000 “blacks and Puerto Ricans” incarcerated for selling small bags of “illegal” weed! You’re not fighting to get them out of jail? Nope, I don’t see you on the news or in news articles fighting to get them out of jail? But you’re asking the “Governor” to take heat and house “illegal” immigrants in Connecticut? Heck naw, you guys cannot be serious!  Governor, please do NOT reconsider. We do not have enough resources in Connecticut. If the Federal Government wants to house them, there is plenty of open land in Washington to house them. Not in Connecticut! Thank you in advance Governor for NOT reconsidering…

posted by: RogueReporterCT | July 18, 2014  3:00pm


QuestionMark: I’m sorry. I must have missed the vote. When was it?

posted by: SocialButterfly | July 18, 2014  4:26pm

RogueReporterCT: Today’s news releases.

posted by: vitodanelli | July 18, 2014  11:01pm

Golly, I wonder if Malloy’s reelection bid has anything to do with his decision ...

posted by: gsamuel | July 19, 2014  7:48am

Connecticut has a habit of applying for monies and NOT applying the appropriate fiscal and personnel oversight to ensure monies is spent appropriately. If new haven or ANY other city or program is considering housing up to 2000 migrant children it must look at the needs of the WHOLE child. This is more than a HOUSING issue, its a FOOD issue, HEALTH & MENTAL HEALTH CARE issue, CLOTHING issue, Educational issue?? If Connecticut is going to address this issue then you MUST count the cost and do it right AT THE SAME TIME protect and serve the children residents of Connecticut . This is not an EGO or Election agenda it a Human being agenda. Governor, New Haven Mayor Harp, CT lawmakers and social service agencies have a tough choice to make- Are you prepared to be held accountable for the care of possibly 2000 migrant CHILDREN

posted by: Han Solo | July 19, 2014  9:25am

No!  These people should be sent back from where they came from!

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | July 19, 2014  11:05am

What a bunch of comedians y’all are, you silly commenters…...

We are in a tough spot nationally on this issue. Seems to this casual observer that housing for the children is more appropriate in the southwest where they can more easily be transported back home once their parents are identified. It is a humanitarian crisis for sure, but I don’t think housing them too far from the border is a good idea.


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