I was outraged to read that our mayor, congressman and senator all found reasons to oppose the Obama administration's proposal to turn the former Social Security Administration building downtown into a shelter for homeless immigrant children ("Rawlings-Blake voices concern over immigrant shelter," June 10).

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was quoted as having "serious concerns" about placing the children at the Metro West complex. Well, I have serious concerns too — about our elected officials' lack of compassion.

What logical reason is there for Baltimore or Maryland to turn away children in need? We are a wealthy state. We have room in many of our public schools for additional children, and the federal government would cover the costs of rehabbing the building and caring for the children.

Where is our sense of responsibility and our empathy for these children, many of whom are escaping from violence, gangs and crushing poverty? Where is our sensitivity to the plight of the children who were separated from their families in a desperate flight toward freedom, safety and the hope of a better life?

A few months ago, when the Social Security administration moved to an office in northwest Baltimore, there were worries about the financial impact of the move on nearby businesses such as Lexington Market. The staff caring for the children would be purchasing lunch, doing their banking, and other errands in West Baltimore. This could only be as asset to the local economy.

Baltimore City and the state should be welcoming these children on humanitarian grounds.

Lauren Siegel, Baltimore

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