The federal government has decided not to use a vacant building in Westminster, Maryland, to temporarily house immigrant children who've crossed the U.S. border from Central America.
Over the weekend, Westminster Mayor Kevin Utz says he received a "heads up" via email from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The message stated the feds were considering using a vacant Army Reserve building in Westminster as a temporary shelter for some of the more than 57,000 unaccompanied children who've crossed the border from Central America since October.
Maryland Congressman Andy Harris (R-District 1), who represents that portion of Carroll County, immediately voiced plans to try and block the move to secure the building.
Then late Saturday Harris says he was notified that HHS had reversed the consideration deciding not to use the Westminster facility which has stood vacant for at least two decades.
A plan to house children in an empty college in Lawrenceville, Virginia, faced similar criticism from locals.
Many of those children have reportedly left Central America trying to escape violence and extortion in their home countries. With a strong Central American community, the D.C. area has been one of many areas that has seen a surge in undocumented children.
The Obama administration has asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funding to cope with the crisis. Activists have protested at the White House, criticizing parts of the plan that would "fast track" deportations of many of those youths.