Deal takes softer tone on issue of immigrant children in Georgia



ATLANTA - After expressing serious concerns about having immigrant children in Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal said the state will have compassion.

"I agree that the president's goal of reuniting these children with their families is certainly the goal that should be worked toward and we are willing to do our part while they're here," Deal said.

It was softer tone from Deal on the 1,100 Central American immigrant children now reunited with family in Georgia.

“We could not imagine some of the background situations that these children come from," Deal said.

Last week, Deal sent a scathing letter to president Obama. He suggested the federal government left Georgia in the dark regarding placement of the so-called unaccompanied minors.

To gather more information about the children, the governor met with leaders of the Hispanic community. It was an important step that only certain media was invited to witness.

The governor opened up the roundtable meeting to Spanish-speaking media outlets only.

Deal said these children deserve compassion. Members of the roundtable believe the state is on the right track.

“The governor made it clear that these children are special and should be considered special and should be welcome to the state,” Jerry Gonzalez said.

Deal said he was pleased to learn that the children in Georgia are living with their families and not tax-payer funded group homes.

He said he still urges the federal government to do a better job communicating with the states about this evolving issue.

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