ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said the city should be a safe place for unaccompanied children who cross the U.S. border.

In a Tuesday news conference at City Hall, Reed said welcoming the children is the moral and right thing to do.

He said metro Atlanta and Georgia have growing immigrant populations and that it’s important to send a signal that Atlanta will be a welcoming community.

Earlier this month, Gov. Nathan Deal said in a letter to President Barack Obama that he was shocked to learn from federal officials that the Office of Refugee Resettlement had sent 1,154 unaccompanied children to Georgia between Jan. 1 and the end of June.

Reed said he hadn’t read the governor’s letter, but said “we’re just on a different place on this.”

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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