Commanders concerned about housing immigrant children at Westove - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Commanders concerned about housing immigrant children at Westover Air Reserve Base

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Master Sgt. Andrew S. Biscoe at Westover Air Reserve Base. (MassLive) Master Sgt. Andrew S. Biscoe at Westover Air Reserve Base. (MassLive)

When Gov. Deval Patrick announced during a press conference in Boston Friday morning that Westover Air Reserve Base was being considered to temporarily shelter immigrant children, it was the first time officials on the base had heard the news.

At the base, Master Sgt. Andrew S. Biscoe said the commanders would like to help, but all of the rooms that are on the base are occupied on the weekend by reservists.

Westover Air Reserve Base has limited facilities and open land, but there are security concerns, Biscoe said.

Officials at Westover believe it is not a done deal and that because it would be a federal installation, there are more steps until final approval, Biscoe said.

Patrick was asked by President Barack Obama last week whether the state could and would temporarily shelter some of the thousands of children detained in recent months by federal immigration officials. The children would temporarily live in the Commonwealth while they are processed for deportation or reuniting with their families in the United States.

The request was for up to 90,000 square feet of space for use for up to four months to accommodate up to 1,000 stranded children. The average stay for children there would be 35 days.

The facility would be under federal, but not state control, and would provide space for children to eat, sleep, play, and go to school.

Patrick said he made his decision for two reasons: love of country and lessons of faith.

The second site that is being considered to temporarily house immigrant children is Camp Edwards at Joint Base Cape Cod in Bourne.

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