O'Malley solicits letter writing campaign on border children

The Baltimore Sun

Gov. Martin O'Malley is encouraging his supporters to launch an old-fashioned letter writing campaign to persuade Congress not to fast-track deportations of the thousands of unaccompanied minors who illegally crossed the U.S. border.

O'Malley's political action committee, O' Say Can You See, on Thursday urged people to write letters to editors at newspapers across the country. The committee provided a form letter that invokes O'Malley's public comments. 

The letter reads, "I agree with Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley when he said, "The greatest power we have as a people is the power of our principles, and that we should not send these kids back without a chance for them to make a case that they fled their country from fear of violence.' "

O'Malley has gained national attention - and a rebuke from The White House - for his comments on dealing with what he has called a "humanitarian crisis" at the border.

The two-term Democrat has broken with the White House in arguing that the young immigrants, many of whom crossed the border illegally, should be sheltered and allowed to request asylum. The Obama administration has said the magnitude of the crisis at the southwest border requires them to act as quickly as possible, while still giving the children due process.

The Obama administration in July suggested O'Malley's stance was hypocritical and leaked that O'Malley had argued against opening a large shelter in Carroll County. 

The dispute continued this week with a television appearance by O'Malley, who contended in an interview witih Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos that White House put political "spin" on his comments. O'Malley said he supports placing the children in home-like centers and not in large shelters.

The governor has urged Maryland families to open their homes to some of the children, and organized two public meetings with faith leaders to come up with strategies to house some of the children.

Maryland's Human Resources Secretary Ted Dallas said Wednesday that more than 2,200 children who crossed the border  have arrived in Maryland since the beginning of the year, and more than 90 percent are currently placed with families.

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