Mayor Miner pushing White House to approve local shelter for Central American immigrant children

The mayor of Syracuse is asking President Barack Obama to speed along the approval process to provide a local shelter for young Central American migrants surging across the border.

Mayor Stephanie Miner wrote a letter to the president Thursday saying the city and its leaders welcome the chance to provide shelter to the children. She requested a partnership between the federal government and Syracuse to expedite the administration's review of a potential shelter at a former convent.

Miner says the site could shelter between 100 and 200 children.

She notes that the Central New York city of 144,000 has a rich immigrant tradition.

â??Our nation is rightly proud to point to the famous promise at the entrance to New York Harbor: â??send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,â??â?? Mayor Miner says. â??Here in Syracuse, we stand ready to live up to that promise.â??

The Border Patrol says 57,525 unaccompanied children had been apprehended through the end of June.

Syracuse has been visited by representatives from the government seeking to review a site for the possible placement of the migrant children. Federal officials have made it clear to Mayor Miner that the Department of Health and Human Services will pay for and provide all services for children through its network of grantees.

Before the children would be placed in Syracuse, they would undergo a well-child exam, tuberculosis testing, and a mental health screening. Children stay an average of 35 days while awaiting a hearing before an immigration magistrate and do not attend local schools.

Bishop Robert Cunningham wrote an open letter about the potential for the immigrant children to be housed in Syracuse. He says that, in spite of political beliefs "we must care for the children."

More information on this can be found on a page on the Cityâ??s website.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.