The former covenant on Syracuseâ??s north side has been empty since the sisters of St. Francis relocated last year. Syracuseâ??s mayor says 100 to 200 children awaiting deportation could be housed here.
Both the mayor and congressman Dan Maffei support the plan say Central New York has a long history of helping refugees in need.
"Central New York has always been a welcoming community, whether it was Jewish people during World War II, or the refugee community,â?? Maffei says. â??I just think we have to do what is in our heart as well. If it makes sense, we'll do it."
Opponents have questioned the feasibility of housing children awaiting deportation in the Syracuse area. Maffei's Republican opponent, John Katko, worked with the border patrol in the 1990's when he was with the U.S. Attorney's Office. He says the time and money required to bring children to Syracuse will encourage more parents to send their children with human traffickers or smugglers to cross the border
"My heart goes out to these children, but they need to be back with their parents sooner rather than later, and the farther we get away from the border, that will be delayed and has a lot of unintended consequences,â?? Katko says.