Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Maryland's federal delegation should be ashamed at themselves to block a plan by the Obama administration to shelter for immigrant children at the recently closed Metro West complex ("Feds scrap plan for immigrant shelter at Metro West," June 11). It's simply not credible for U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski to base her objection on the "health and safety of the children." She alleges that the recently vacated building, owned by the federal government, is not suitable for children because it has no infrastructure for residential use. Metro West has had a child care center with outdoor play space for 15 years. It can easily be adapted for a temporary residential use.

We could learn from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins whose voice rises above those who make no pretense about not wanting "aliens" in their community and those who, like our mayor, feign compassion while manufacturing reasons not to act. Judge Jenkins wants to house 2,000 children in school buildings and a warehouse which have no residential use.

Mayor Rawlings-Blake could convene faith and civic leaders in Baltimore to find an alternative site to house the children who are living in conditions far worse than a vacant office building. Of course, such a plan should come with appropriate federal resources so as not to burden a city facing more than its fair share of social challenges.

Julius Paul

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.