Neither the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which also is involved in the effort to care for the immigrants, nor Customs and Border Protection responded to a request for comment. A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services said only that the Baltimore site "was not final yet" and referred questions to FEMA.

The Metro West complex was home to 1,600 Social Security employees until the agency moved out. The General Services Administration, which manages federal property, initiated the process of selling the site for development in August.

A GSA spokeswoman said in a statement that the agency is "aggressively reviewing its inventory of federal facilities to identify those that may feasibly provide temporary shelter space for children, should it be needed."

The spokeswoman declined to comment specifically on the Metro West complex.

If approved, Metro West would not be the only facility in Baltimore to house the unaccompanied minors. The Department of Homeland Security issued an emergency grant last month to the Board of Child Care of the United Methodist Church to care for up to 50 of them.

Thomas L. Curcio, the organization's president and CEO, said the group is already caring for nearly two dozen immigrant children between the ages of 12 and 17 in the Woodlawn area. The group provides basic shelter services, clothing, education and recreation, Curcio said.

Curcio said he did not know the exact size of the grant, which runs through September.

"They have proven to be youngsters who want to be here," Curcio said, "and have presented no issues."

john.fritze@baltsun.com

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