Maryland’s Democratic Governor at Odds With Obama Administration Regarding What to Do About Immigrant Children

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley shakes hands with Ben Guise of Des Moines as he meets with Iowa Democratic Party volunteers Saturday, June 21, 2014, during a canvass kick off event at Saints Pub + Patio in Des Moines. (Scott Morgan/For The Washington Post)
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley shakes hands with Ben Guise of Des Moines as he meets with Iowa Democratic Party volunteers Saturday, June 21, 2014, during a canvass kick off event at Saints Pub + Patio in Des Moines. (Scott Morgan/For The Washington Post)

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) appears to be facing the consequences of sharply challenging the Obama administration’s efforts to deal with an influx of immigrant children who have crossed the border into this country unaccompanied.

O’Malley spoke at length to reporters on Friday about the need for compassion for these children. And he said that the government should not “summarily send children to death” by forcing them to return home, a reference to the administration’s effort to speed deportations, add immigration judges and beef up border security. Within hours, O’Malley aides said, the governor received a phone call from a frustrated White House official.

By Tuesday, details of that private conversation leaked to political reporters via a “Democratic source” — and not one in Annapolis, according to the aides. The comments painted O’Malley as a hypocrite: the governor didn’t want these immigrant children returned to their home countries, the source said, but he refused to shelter them in his own state, opposing a proposed site in Carroll County that has since been removed from the list of options.

Aides to O’Malley — who is considering a run for the White House in 2016 — quickly rushed to his defense, saying that the governor’s comments about the Carroll County site had been completely misconstrued and that for weeks he has been actively working to find suitable places in Maryland for detained children.

At the heart of this fight between usual allies is an empty former Army Reserves Center in Westminster, one of several locations across the country considered by the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency notified Carroll County leaders on Thursday evening of their interest — quickly sparking a swift and visceral reaction from local Republicans.

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SOURCE: Jenna Johnson 
The Washington Post

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