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Dayton Mayor, Congressman Face Off Over Housing Children Who Cross U.S. Border Alone

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A feud is unfolding over whether Dayton should take in immigrant children from Central America who have been crossing the border by the tens of thousands in recent months. As WYSO’s Lewis Wallace reports for Ohio Public Radio, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is facing off against Congressman Mike Turner and local politicians.

Monday, July 28, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Dayton’s Democratic mayor, Nan Whaley, said the numbers of young children coming into the U.S. alone from Central America constitute a humanitarian crisis.

When the federal government contacted her in early July about potentially housing some of them temporarily, she said, Of course.

"These are children, and they need to be treated humanely while they’re on American soil and while we go through the due process with them," Whaley said.

But a group of Republicans including U.S. Rep. Mike Turner has penned a letter to President Barack Obama. It says Whaley doesn’t represent the region.

Mayor Brian Jarvis of suburban Beavercreek signed on.

"We’re a nation of immigrants," Jarvis said. "However, this has now jumped that line clearly into illegal immigrants."

Jarvis and others say the region can’t afford to provide for the kids, even temporarily.

Congressman Turner, who represents Dayton and Wright-Patterson Air Force base put out a release saying, “Mayor Whaley does not have the authority, the resources or the support to speak on behalf of Dayton and the surrounding communities.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says its shelters are overcrowded, and it’s offering funds for organizations who open up space. Catholic Charities in Cincinnati has applied for a grant.

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