Gov. Patrick weighs sheltering illegal immigrant children in Massachusetts

CAMPO, CA - JULY 29:  The US-Mexico border fence is seen as Border Patrol agents carry out special operations following the first fatal shooting of a US Border Patrol agent in more than a decade on July 29, 2009 near the rural town of Campo, some 60 miles east of San Diego, California. 30-year-old agent Robert Rosas was killed on July 23 when he tracked a suspicious group of people alone in remote brushy hills north of the border in this region. Violence has been escalating in Mexico with fights between well-armed drug cartels and the army becoming common since Mexican President Felipe Calderon began his army-backed war on the cartels. Since the conflict began in late 2006, 12,800 people have been killed. Mexican officials charge that guns which are easily smuggled in from the US have flooded into Mexico where gun laws are strict.   (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
The US-Mexico border fence. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Governor Deval Patrick said Wednesday he is weighing a request by President Barack Obama to shelter an unspecified number of children who have crossed the southern border illegally.

It’s unclear how many unaccompanied illegal immigrant children would be permitted into the state, Patrick said, though the teens would be held in secure facilities.

Patrick called the situation at the border “a humanitarian crisis.”

“We need to understand the scope of what it is that we are being asked to do, but I can tell you personally that I don’t think as a commonwealth that we can turn away and turn our backs to children who are coming from desperate situations,” Patrick said.

The Obama administration has made similar requests to all U.S. states.

According to the Associated Press, thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America have flooded over the border into the U.S, with 90,000 expected by Sept. 30.

The children are fleeing violence, and are reportedly encouraged by rumors that once they arrive in the U.S. they will be given shelter.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
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