Two influential New York congressmen — a Democrat and a Republican — teamed up to successfully keep a local facility from being used to house unaccompanied illegal-immigrant children.
Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), past chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, objected to a former Northrop Grumman facility being used to house the kids.
The Department of Health and Human Services dropped consideration of the Bethpage facility, a Superfund site which is a part of the former Grumman Aerospace complex, under pressure from the lawmakers.
“I was happy to learn that the site in Bethpage will no longer be considered to house unaccompanied minors entering U.S. borders illegally,” Israel said in a statement. “While we must find viable and humane options to deal with the influx of these children, stockpiling them in a warehouse close to a Superfund site was an inhumane and unfeasible solution.”
“I am pleased that HHS agreed that the Bethpage industrial park is not appropriate to shelter hundreds if not thousands of illegal immigrant children from the southwest border,” King said. “Going forward I urge the administration to find a humanitarian solution that focuses on stopping the flow across the southwest border and increasing security efforts.”
HHS was reportedly considering five sites in New York for temporary housing and had rejected two — a hotel resort in Grand Island and a warehouse in Rochester — before King and Israel knocked the Grumman site out of the running.
The Bethpage facility, the Peregrine Business Park, was already scheduled for renovations for future use.
The congressmen argued that “volatile organic compounds still exist in the soil and groundwater,” making it inappropriate for housing children.