In statehouses and mayor's suites, in city council chambers and local police agencies, the challenge of housing tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American migrant children is forcing an emotional, uncomfortable and politically treacherous conversation on policymakers at every level, reports the Washington Post. Since large numbers of migrant children began showing up in the Rio Grande Valley, federal officials have turned to states as far north as New England and many places in between in the search for places to keep the children while the government figures out whether to unite them with family members in the U.S. or deport them.
Even in places where the administration can usually count on support, it has frequently been met by resistance, suspicion or, in some cases, plain old puzzlement. The Democratic governors of Connecticut and Maryland have objected to specific proposals to locate shelters for the children in their states. When federal officials turned to Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin for a hand, they weren't exactly given a set of keys to the 1,000-child capacity facility they were seeking. “We obviously don't have anything close to that in Vermont,” said Shumlin's deputy chief of staff, Susan Allen. “We don't have armories available; we don't have a military base.” In Tucson, a left-leaning university city in conservative Arizona, confusion and distrust spread after the appearance of work crews at a sprawling, two-story apartment complex that formerly housed college students. Eventually, federal officials confirmed that the complex was being rehabbed to house unaccompanied minors.