BY MATTHEW Q. CLARIDA
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Friday that the federal government has not made new requests for Connecticut to house immigrant children in state facilities.
Malloy, who earlier this month rejected a federal request to put up undocumented children at the Southbury Training School, said that while the state has examined a former Gateway Community College facility in New Haven, that evaluation was purely exploratory. It revealed, Malloy said, that the building lacks a sprinkler system and has other issues and is not suitable to house children.
Still, the governor reiterated that the federal government has not made a new request for housing assistance.
“[The federal government is] not asking us to do anything, so I don’t have any plans with respect to the use of that building,” Malloy said of the Gateway facility. He also emphasized his belief that “I don’t think we should be warehousing children.”
Instead, Malloy supports the placing of children in family settings. He reported on Thursday that the federal government has made 325 such placements in Connecticut.
“Those are placements by the federal government, so those are not placements that we are involved with,” he said, adding that the state has “communicated and will continue to communicate with the federal government should they need our assistance.”
In a 20-minute press conference after a meeting of the State Bond Commission, Malloy spent most of his time answering questions about immigration, which has become a national issue as federal authorities have asked states to take in, on a temporary basis, some of the thousands of children who have streamed across the southwestern border since Jan. 1.
Malloy insisted that while he wants to help the federal government, he is determined to keep state resources flowing to Connecticut residents.
“We have [our own] children that we need to place in foster facilities,” he said. “[The federal effort] mirrors what we are doing and it doesn’t take away [from the state’s responsibilities].”