Alexandria has ‘no interest’ in shelter for unaccompanied migrant kids

While some local governments were caught off guard by news that the General Services Administration was looking to lease space to build a shelter for hundreds of unaccompanied migrant children, city leaders in Alexandria, Virginia, had been given a heads up. But now they’re telling the feds in strong terms that the city isn’t interested in helping.

A Department of Health and Human Services official on July 29 had contacted Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson about looking to build a permanent shelter to house unaccompanied migrant children somewhere in the Northern Virginia region, including in Alexandria.

But on Thursday, Wilson sent a letter asking the federal government to look elsewhere.

“Please be advised that the city of Alexandria, Virginia, has no interest in hosting such a shelter or being part of any ‘exploratory assessment,’” Wilson said in his letter.

Wilson said that the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center ended its contract with the Office of Refugee Resettlement in response to local officials opposing the detention of immigrant children.

“Our city values every resident or visitor regardless of their immigration status,” Wilson’s letter said.

“Unfortunately, the Federal Government’s current treatment of immigrant families is in direct conflict with our community’s values. We want no part of this process.”

Read the full letter. 

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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