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US officials apologize for miscues in plan to house Central American kids in small Va. town

  • Immigrant Children-1.jpg

    Town residents listen during a presentation by federal officials involved in the placement of immigrant children at St Paul's College in Lawrenceville, Va., Thursday, June 19, 2014. The program is on hold pending comments from local residents (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (The Associated Press)

  • Immigrant Children-2.jpg

    Area resident, John Zubrot of Ebony, Va., asks a question during a presentation by federal officials involved in the placement of immigrant children at St Paul's College in Lawrenceville, Va., Thursday, June 19, 2014. The program is on hold pending comments from local residents (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (The Associated Press)

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    Mary B. Taylor, of Lawrenceville, Va., asks a question during a presentation by federal officials involved in the placement of immigrant children at St Paul's College in Lawrenceville, Va., Thursday, June 19, 2014. The program is on hold pending comments from local residents (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (The Associated Press)

Contrite federal officials have apologized to residents of a tiny southern Virginia town for keeping them in the dark as they prepared to bring in hundreds of Central American children and teenagers to a temporary shelter.

Officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies spoke Thursday night to residents of Lawrenceville, Virginia, in a public meeting.

An overflow crowd packed the 900-seat Brunswick High School auditorium in the farming town of nearly 1,500.

The government planned to bring in children from resettlement camps in the South and Southwest to stay at a shuttered college in Lawrenceville. Local officials only learned about the plan last week, not long before the children and young people were due to arrive. The plan has been put on hold.

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