The disclosure of the call comes after O'Malley sharply criticized proposals from the Obama administration that could speed up the deportation of many of the 57,000 unaccompanied children who have arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months. It also highlights a potential rift between the White House and a Democrat considering running to replace Obama in the 2016 presidential election. O'Malley was a top fundraiser for the president's re-election campaign, helping raise more than $1 million to keep Obama in the White House.
Gustavo Torres, executive director of immigrant rights group CASA de Maryland, praised O'Malley for taking a stand. "In stark contrast to other public figures that have called for their quick deportation, Governor O'Malley has urged that arriving migrant children receive fair, humane treatment and, above all, a fair legal review of whether they should be allowed to stay," Torres said.
O'Malley was outspoken about the issue at the National Governors Association meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday.
"We are not a country that should turn children away and send them back to certain death," O'Malley told reporters.
Nina Smith, an O'Malley spokeswoman, said it would be wrong to suggest the governor's position on the Westminster site suggests he is not willing to have the children in Maryland. Smith said O'Malley and other state officials have been working with federal partners and local officials to try to play a constructive role in addressing the matter for weeks.
Meanwhile, the Maryland Department of Human Services submitted plans Monday to take preliminary regulatory steps to create a licensing process for providers who could help unaccompanied immigrant children. The step comes after several potential locations to house them in the state were considered and rejected.
White House Correspondent Julie Pace and Associated Press writer Josh Lederman in Washington contributed to this report.