Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), his voice full of emotion at times, on Friday explained his plan to help the federal government identify a site in his state to temporally house as many as a 1,000 unaccompanied children who have crossed into the United States illegally.
Patrick offered two reasons for his decision. One is the U.S. tradition of helping children from other nations in need. The other, Patrick explained, is deeply personal.
"I believe that we will one day have to answer for our actions and our inactions. My faith teaches that 'if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him,' but rather 'love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt,'" Patrick said , quoting scripture, as he grew visibly emotional.
In the video below, courtesy of WGGB and WCVB, this happens at around the 19-minute mark.
Patrick offered two possible site: Joint Base Cape Cod in Bourne and Westover Air Base in Chicopee. He said the Department of Health and Human Services request was for "up 90,000 square feet of space for use for up to four months to accommodate up to 1,000 stranded children." Patrick said it is up to the federal government to decide which, if either, facility it wants to use.
Tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children have been apprehended at the Southwest border since October.
"Once, in 1939, we turned our backs on Jewish children fleeing the Nazis, and it remains a blight on our national reputation," said Patrick. "The point is that this good nation is great when we open our doors and our hearts to needy children, and diminished when we don't."