NEWTON, Kansas – The Newton City Commission held a special meeting Friday and voted to not support housing illegal/refugee children.
The meeting was standing room only.
A group called Ember Hope wanted to house 30 children at the old Youthille complex.
They wanted the city to provide a letter of support for a federal grant application to provide residential services for unaccompanied alien children at its campus in Newton.
The 36-month grant would enable them to serve 30 children, each of whom would stay about five weeks while awaiting placement with family members or a sponsor family. School classes, health care and other services would all be provided on the Youthville campus. EmberHope would hire about 50 new employees.
Local residents expressed concerns at the meeting about supporting the practice of illegal immigration, spread of disease, increased crime, burdens on the health care system and other issues.
City commissioners expressed compassion for the migrant children but frustration with the failures of national immigration policy.
They voted 4-0 not to provide a letter of support.
Shelley Duncan, president and CEO of EmberHope, said the letter was not a requirement of the grant application, and EmberHope will now have to decide whether to proceed with the application.