Immigrant Children Landing in Every State — Texas Has Most

Friday, 25 Jul 2014 08:45 PM

By Cathy Burke

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More than 30,000 children who've poured over the U.S.-Mexico border as part of an unprecedented flood of migrants have been released to sponsors in every state – with Texas receiving 13 percent of them, the highest in the nation, federal data show.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 1,000 children were released in each of 10 states, with Texas receiving 4,280. New York, Florida and California, each got more than 3,000 released children. Nine states have received 10 or fewer children.

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Vermont received just three, Montana, just one child.

The children, who are awaiting processing of their immigration cases, get vaccinations and medical screenings before they move in with sponsors, who are often relatives, and get background checks, The Washington Post reported Friday.

But the transfers have triggered criticism from some governors, including Republican Govs. Dave Heineman of Nebraska, Rick Scott of Florida, and Phil Bryant of Mississippi.

"Like many governors, my office must monitor rumors about the transport and housing of illegal immigrants because your administration apparently prefers to conduct these acts under cloak of secrecy," Bryant wrote to President Barack Obama.

Republican Maine Gov. Paul LePage only found out about the release of eight children to his state on Tuesday, the Portland Press Herald reported, which triggered an angry statement criticizing the Obama administration for failing to give the state advance notice and demanding Obama "not look to Maine to harbor illegal immigrants."

"The president has failed to enforce our border laws," LePage said in the statement. "Now states like Texas are facing a crisis. The failure of Congress and the President to address our border issues should not result in more of a financial burden on Maine people. We cannot become a state that encourages illegal immigration. We simply cannot afford it."

The Post notes that from 2003 to 2011, the federal government processed an average of between 7,000 and 8,000 placements for illegal immigrant children every year. This year, it expects 60,000.

And like every year, The Post reports, HHS says Guatemala is the top source for unaccompanied children, at 37 percent; 30 percent of the children are from Honduras; and 26 percent from El Salvador.

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