In a statement issued Friday, the department said it was heeding the concerns of residents and officials of the town of Lawrenceville, Virginia, where now-closed St. Paul's College is located.
Residents of the southern Virginia community loudly complained about the planned temporary shelter for unaccompanied children from several Central American counties.
HHS said it was taking the proposal "off the table" and said it would identify other sites. It did not say where.
Sen. Mark Warner worked with local officials when they learned of the surprise proposal. In a statement, he said it was "the right call."
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