Some children fleeing from Central America could be placed in Ca - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Some children fleeing from Central America could be placed in Capital Region

Posted: Updated: Jul 01, 2014 03:39 PM
ALBANY, N.Y. - Since October, the United States Border Patrol has detained more than 52,000 unaccompanied children coming across the border from Central America, and some could be coming to Albany.

President Obama calls the situation a humanitarian crisis.

Some of the children fleeing into American though, may have found their way to the Capital Region. 

The surge is in part due to a 2008 human trafficking law signed by then-President George w. Bush. The law increases protections for illegal minors until an immigration hearing can take place.

However, with so many kids crossing the borders, health and human services is having trouble finding a safe place for all of these undocumented kids, while relatives or foster care can become available.

"In some cases these countries are among the most violent, if not the most violent in the world,” said U.S. Representative Paul Tonko.

According to Paul Tonko, the Department of Health and Human Service is looking at many places across the country to house the children that cross the border without adults. There are a few places benig reviewed to house the children One of which, is the old Doane Stuart School building, located on Southern Boulevard in Albany.

The 225,000 square foot building is currently on the market for $4 million.

Tonko says the building is still being investigated to see if it will meet necessary requirements.

“Initial reaction is that these children are escaping violence because of humanitarian efforts of this nation which I think has been our hallmark, to be humanitarian in response to, in this case, children,” said Tonko.

Stacie Blake, with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants says the main concern is safe place to put the children with access to immigration hearings and an airport. Something her office knows a lot about.

"Our interest is seeing and hearing these interests upheld because we are learning of these very disturbing reports off these most vulnerable children,” she said.

Tonko stresses for now that the deal is far from complete and that a lot more about the location will have to be looked into before anyone lets these kids more in.

"We’ll have to look at how the utilities function, I mean that’s the role of HHS and we'll be monitoring the situation," he explained.

Tonko says other sites in New York State are also being investigated. However, he stresses funding will come from the federal level and not come from the state.

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