HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut authorities are trying to find locations within the state to accommodate unaccompanied migrant kids who’ve been arriving on the U.S.-Mexico border in report numbers, together with a now-closed juvenile detention heart that generated criticism for his jail. -as situations, Governor Ned Lamont mentioned Thursday.
The Democratic governor mentioned Vice President Kamala Harris requested him throughout a go to to Connecticut final month if the state might take away a few of the kids from the border.
“We have now hundreds of misplaced and lonely kids on the Rio Grande border,” Lamont mentioned at a information convention. “Vice President Harris got here as much as me and mentioned, ‘Can Connecticut assist me?’ And I mentioned we are going to attempt to do what we will. “
Lamont mentioned officers plan to make a suggestion to federal authorities about attainable websites within the coming days. A Connecticut group is already employed to assist discover housing for some kids who cross the border alone and are despatched to the state.
Lamont and Vannessa Dorantes, commissioner of the state Division of Kids and Households, didn’t say on the press convention what number of extra kids might come to Connecticut from the border and didn’t disclose different locations into account to accommodate them.
The governor mentioned he and different officers lately visited the previous Connecticut Youth Coaching Faculty in Middletown to “see if we will discover a method to take care of these kids in a humane, caring and protected approach.”
Federal authorities mentioned Thursday that the US authorities picked up almost 19,000 kids touring alone throughout the Mexican border in March, the best month-to-month quantity ever recorded. The massive quantity is a crucial take a look at for President Joe Biden, as he reverses most of the hardline immigration techniques of his predecessor.
Consideration of the coaching college to accommodate migrant kids raised fast considerations from immigrant and civil rights advocates.
“Kids don’t belong in cages, and the truth that the state is contemplating putting migrant kids in a former youth jail is regarding,” mentioned David McGuire, govt director of the American Civil Liberties Union, in a press release. .
The previous Connecticut Juvenile Coaching Faculty opened in 2001 with a capability for greater than 200 boys and younger males, and there have been repeated findings of misuse of restraints and isolation, in addition to frequent requires its closure.
It closed in 2018 amid a decline in youth and younger grownup arrests, decrease crime charges, and new reforms and packages.
When it closed, the then governor. Dannel Malloy known as the ability “an costly and ill-advised relic of the Rowland period,” in reference to former Republican Governor John Rowland. Malloy mentioned the $ 57 million “prison-like facility” for kids and youths made “rehabilitation, therapeutic and rising up tougher.”
Dorantes mentioned state officers are nicely conscious of the historical past of the coaching college.
“We perceive that the issues that occurred there are out of line with the requirements of care that we now have for Connecticut right this moment,” he mentioned. “What we have been doing is looking for locations in Connecticut the place we will reimagine the most effective and most humane approach to assist this humanitarian disaster.”
For the previous 5 years, the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants has been the one group within the state with a federal contract to assist migrant kids in federal custody who have been delivered to Connecticut. The institute helps as much as 75 kids a yr discover properties with relations and different sponsors, and offers authorized companies to these in a federally supervised shelter within the state, amongst a wide range of different companies.
For safety causes, the institute didn’t specify the place the federally contracted shelter was or what number of kids are staying there. The group mentioned it hopes to serve extra kids because of the current improve in border crossings, however state officers had not contacted them about using the previous coaching college.
Ashley Gaudiano, a spokeswoman for the institute, mentioned Thursday that she mentioned she didn’t need to speculate whether or not the coaching college can be acceptable with out seeing what the state’s plans are.
“We don’t want kids to be housed in buildings designed as prisons, however… we now have not been in that facility. The primary and solely precedence must be the protection and well-being of the youngsters and guaranteeing that they’re in a facility that meets the right requirements is essential. “
There are two shelters for unaccompanied migrant kids in Connecticut, in Groton and Washington, which have contracts with the federal Division of Well being and Human Companies. It was not instantly clear what number of kids are within the shelters.
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