The Sisters of St. Francis confirmed the Department of Health and Human Services is looking at their properties in Syracuse to house illegal immigrant children.
Unaccompanied minors from Central America who are awaiting deportation could be housed in this former convent building owned by the Sisters of St. Francis in Syracuse. The building was photographed Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Federal inspectors conducted a site assessment on Monday to see if the former convent would be suitable to house the children. (Ellen M. Blalock | [email protected])
The illegal children would live at a former convent – without the crucifixes, of course.
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The Sisters of St. Francis confirmed today that federal officials are exploring the idea of using the religious order’s vacant Syracuse buildings to house immigrant children awaiting deportation.
Officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Families and Children traveled to Syracuse on Monday to inspect six buildings on the 10-acre Franciscan campus at Court Street and Grant Boulevard, said Rochelle Casella, speaking for the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities.
The inspection is part of an initial site assessment to see if two former convents or the former Maria Regina College center may be suitable for temporarily housing an undetermined of children from Central America who are awaiting deportation hearings.
Cassella stressed in an interview Tuesday that the Sisters of St. Francis did not decide whether to accept any federal offer to lease or buy the properties.
“The Sisters say there are a lot of factors to be taken into consideration,” Cassella said. “The Sisters have made no decision about the future of the property.”
Federal officials initiated this week’s visit, she said, and looked over potential living quarters that include a gymnasium and commercial cafeteria.
HHS officials would not confirm the Syracuse visit.