Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has criticized the White House on its handling of the immigration issue, but has balked at plans to send unaccompanied migrant children to his state, CNNreports.
The reason for his objections? O’Malley thinks that to send the unaccompanied migrant children back to their home countries is to “summarily send children to death.” Yet, potential 2016 presidential candidate O’Malley is apparently concerned that the children are at a particularly high risk of being mistreated or harassed if transported to a facility in Westminster, Maryland.
O’Malley is the most prominent Democrat who has drawn ire from the Obama administration regarding his steadfast opposition to their efforts to secure the border and ramp up deportations.
After speaking with journalists on Friday about the border situation, O’Malley reportedly received an agitated call from White House official Cecilia Munoz. On Tuesday, details of the private conversation were leaked by a Democratic source, who said that the topic of discussion was the governor’s hypocrisy, namely that he was arguing firmly against deportation, yet refusing to house immigrant children in his own state.
“Please don’t send these kids to Western Maryland,” O’Malley is reported to have said privately.
Westminster, Maryland is home to the state’s largest concentration of conservatives. County voters decided last year to declare English their official language.
The O’Malley administration is actively investigating alternative options for the location of the facility, and as a result of the conversation’s details becoming public, O’Malley aides have stated that the alternative proposals are actually still in Maryland itself, rather than another state. According to the aides, the whole controversy rests on a misunderstanding.
“Governor O’Malley has been discussing this issue for weeks with the White House, he has helped identify ways Maryland can assist with this humanitarian crisis, and he has directed the Maryland Department of Human Resources to take the steps necessary to find licensed providers who might be able to care for these children in Maryland,” said O’Malley press secretary Nina Smith, according to Politico.