Malloy Says No To Obama Request to House Undocumented Migrant Children in CT



Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration has denied a request from federal authorities to temporarily house up to 2,000 illegal migrant children from Central America at the Southbury Training School.
The state Office of Policy and Management wrote in an email Monday that its concerns about the aging school’s condition, the sensitive nature of caring for the developmentally disabled clients already there, as well as several legal and procedural hurdles, prevent Connecticut from assisting.
“The vacant property that the state of Connecticut has is too small to accommodate your needs (which clearly must be at least several hundred thousand square feet of building space alone) and is typically in a state of disrepair to the point where a certificate of occupancy would be difficult to obtain,” Patrick M. O’Brien, assistant director of OPM’s Bureau of Assets Management wrote to an official at the U.S. General Services Administration’s New England regional offices. “Indeed, many existing structures are beyond salvage and require environmental remediation and demolition.”
Built in the late 1930s as a home for the developmentally disabled, it is the only large residential facility of its kind in the state.

Since 1984 the school has been the target of multiple court challenges alleging it lacks adequate services and other resources to serve its clients. Between 1997 and 2008, at least some portions of facility operations were under federal court oversight.

According to emails obtained by The Mirror, federal officials first contacted the Malloy administration on July 3 about the possibility of entering into a short-term lease to house, feed and provide medical care to 1,000 to 2,000 children who have illegally entered the U.S. through Mexico from other countries in Central America.
Federal officials estimate as many as 90,000 children who have entered the country illegally will be detained this year. Most are being held in Texas or elsewhere in the American Southwest. These sites cannot provide adequate care while the children, detained under the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, are interviewed and processed for possible deportation back to their countries of origin.
The U.S. General Services Administration asked for approximately 90,000 square feet at Southbury for up to 2,000 children, who would stay for six months to a year.
The need for housing is “urgent” and the GSA is seeking to identify temporary sites immediately, Michael Strobel, senior realty specialist for the GSA’s New England region, wrote to Connecticut officials.
The federal government would have covered all living, medical and maintenance costs associated with the move.
But Connecticut officials wrote that the aging condition of Southbury is just one concern.
“Southbury Training School is home to adults in State care with developmental disabilities,” O’Brien wrote.  “Their families and the developmentally disabled community keep a watchful eye on the residents and the property itself.  Any new and significant activity at Southbury would be intensively scrutinized by a multitude of interest groups and organizations, and would face time-consuming challenges.”
More than 300 individuals currently receive an array of medical therapeutic, residential and other support services at Southbury, which employs more than 1,000 full- and part-time and consulting staff.
O’Brien added that state law requires a specific process be followed whenever an agency has “surplus” property it no longer needs. That process requires this surplus property be offered first to other state agencies, and then to Connecticut municipalities to see if they might need it.
The statute mandates a public comment period before any new use is allowed, and any final sales agreement must be approved by the bipartisan State Properties Review Board, two state legislative committees and by the Connecticut attorney general’s office.
“This process often takes a minimum of 18-24 months to complete and based upon the urgency expressed in your email, I can’t believe a 24 month time frame would meet your needs,” O’Brien wrote.
Connecticut’s U.S. senators, Christopher Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, called earlier this month for passage of an immigration reform bill that would expedite due process requirements for the detained children.
Most of these minors have fled Central America, or have been sent by their families, to escape violence and severe poverty at home, the senators said.
The children fleeing to the U.S. lack adequate health care and often become victims of human trafficking, rape and other violence and abuse, they said. is a media partner of does not use the term “illegal” when referring to undocumented immigrants, this story is a re-post.  


4 thoughts on “Malloy Says No To Obama Request to House Undocumented Migrant Children in CT

  1. These children are not illegal they are refugees and no one, not even someone here without papers, should be called illegal. How can a newspaper for Latinos perpetuate this hateful term? Removing the word from the title is not enough.

    1. Its the same along the Texas Mexico border on the Texas side. Local television and print consistently refer to children and anyone from outside the Rio Grande Valley as “illegals” or “aliens”. How this blatant racism can exist in an area that is more than 90% Mexican American is beyond me. There must be tremendous hate and fear in these misguided reporters as well as their editors and producers. Hate is alive and well along the Rio Grande.

  2. Maria, We re-printed the story in its entirety, as such, we are not able to change any words in the article as per journalistic rules. We agree with you that no human being is ‘illegal’ which is why we pointed out the use of the term by the original writer and raised the issue on social media. We feel confident, we raised to essential issues 1) the use of the term “illegal’ in referring to an undocumented person by a leading CT media outlet and 2) the story itself – that the state has decided not to help in
    this situation with these children. Editor

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