Rep. Andy Harris
Rep. Andy Harris (The Aegis)

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Andy Harris, the state's sole Republican in Congress, vowed Friday to use his position on the House Appropriations Committee to block any effort by the federal government to set up a shelter for immigrant children in Carroll County.

The Department of Health and Human Services was expected to perform a preliminary review of a former Army Reserve Center near Westminster as a potential shelter for some children, according to a document obtained on Thursday by The Sun.


The federal government has considered and ultimately rejected three other sites in Maryland.

"These unaccompanied minors who have entered our nation illegally must not be brought to Carroll County, Maryland," Harris, a Baltimore County Republican who represents portions of Carroll County said in a statement. "Flying them to Maryland only to turn around and fly them back home is nonsensical."

The Obama administration is scrambling to find space for the children, about 250 of whom are crossing the U.S. border every day. In contrast to how adults are treated, federal law requires U.S. Customs and Border Protection to turn the children over to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The review of the site comes as the White House is seeking $3.7 billion in emergency funds from Congress to deal with what the administration and others have called a humanitarian crisis. The prospects for that request remain unclear.

The Carroll County site is located in Rep. Chris Van Hollen's district. In a statement, a spokeswoman said Van Hollen supports the emergency fund and must "ensure the safe treatment of these young people while also making it clear that the United States does not have an open border."

The spokeswoman, Bridgett Frey, said the congressman, a Democrat, will "consider proposed actions to determine whether they are consistent with those two objectives."