MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Federal officials are no longer considering a former defense plant in Bethpage as a relocation site for thousands of immigrant children flooding into the country, according to Long Island officials.
Congressmen Steve Israel and Peter King and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano were notified Friday that the Department of Health and Human Services is no longer considering the former Grumman warehouse, which is near a Superfund site.
Opponents had said the site was inappropriate for housing children.
“This just did not make sense,” King told WCBS 880. “It wasn’t right for the kids, it wasn’t right for the community.”
Israel said the site has been “plagued with a variety of environmental challenges” and putting children there would not be an “appropriate or humanitarian solution.”
Thousands of families and unaccompanied children have been coming to the U.S. in recent months, fleeing violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Many believe they will receive leniency from U.S. authorities.
King said there are about 250 children coming across the border every day and more needs to be done to address the situation.
“What the administration should be doing is to be securing the border and telling countries like El Salvador and Guatemala that they cannot be sending children up here like this,” King said. “If they are going to be housed, put them in a facility as close to the border as possible to make it clear that they’re not going to stay here because in fairness when families do see the children being taken up north, it makes it seem that these kids are going to be here permanently, and that just encourages more kids to come across.”
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