- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut officials have rejected a federal request to temporarily house up to 2,000 immigrant children from Central America at a mostly-vacant facility built for developmentally disabled adults.

The New England office of the U.S. General Services Administration inquired earlier this month about leasing space at the Southbury Training School for between six months and a year.

In emails to state officials, the federal officials said they planned to cover expenses and the only cost to Connecticut would be in “maintaining the viability of the facilities while in use.”

Patrick M. O’Brien, assistant director of the state’s Bureau of Assets Management, emailed back Monday, rejecting the request. He said the building was not suitable because of its size, deteriorating conditions, complex state procedures for using surplus property, and the fact that some people are still housed at Southbury.

“Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to assist you in your efforts to house these individuals,” he wrote.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office declined to say Wednesday whether the state would try to find other facilities that could meet the federal government’s needs.

Spokesman Andrew Doba instead referred back to O’Brien’s Monday email, which detailed the red tape involved in using surplus property.

“Any final sales agreement would require approval of several state agencies, including the bipartisan and independent State Properties Review Board, two (2) legislative Committees of Cognizance and the Office of the Attorney General,” according to the email. “This process often takes a minimum of 18-24 months to complete and based upon the urgency expressed in your email, I can’t believe a 24 month time frame would meet your needs.”

The federal government is looking for immediate housing following a recent surge in unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally.

The Border Patrol says 57,525 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the U.S. border from October 2013 through the end of June, a nearly 500 percent increase from the same period in the previous year.

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Information from: Republican-American, http://www.rep-am.com