Most Illegal Border Kids Relocated to Texas

Image: Most Illegal Border Kids Relocated to Texas A Salvadorian immigrant child watches as a U.S. Border Patrol agent records family information on July 24 in Mission, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 11:00 AM

By Jennifer G. Hickey

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Federal officials have placed more unaccompanied minors from Central America in Texas than any other state, according to the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

Between Jan. 1 and July 7, federal authorities have released 4,280 "unaccompanied minors with sponsors" to Texas for placement in the state — a figure which eclipses every other state.

Texas is followed by New York (3,347); Florida (3,181); California (3,150); and Virginia (2,234). The total number of immigrant minors released to the states through July 7 is 30,340.

Those figures, however, only relate to children with sponsors. According to the ORR website, any unaccompanied refugee minor is cared for in shelters across the nation until they can be handed over to "a sponsor, typically a parent or relative, who can care for the child while their immigration case is processed."

The minors have been placed in every state, including four in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Montana has received only one minor.

The burden borne by taxpayers in Texas also includes the funds needed to support the decision by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to send Texas National Guard troops to the border.

On July 29, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told Texas state lawmakers that since June 18, approximately $5.2 million has been spent since Perry ordered the National Guard to the border to handle the flood of Central American refugees crossing the border.

The majority — $4.4 million — of the costs have gone to overtime pay. The remaining DPS expenses have been used on travel ($918,000), flight costs ($731,000), fuel ($84,000), and repairs ($24,000), according to the Shreveport Times.

While Oklahoma has not been the choice site for relocating children with sponsors, state officials remain concerned about the costs that will be borne.

This week, Gov. Mary Fallin expressed those concerns in a letter to President Barack Obama about the burden those and children in the future will have on the state's resources.

Fallin noted in her letter that at least 212 minors have been placed with sponsors in Oklahoma and are currently eligible under federal law to attend public school and to receive emergency health services.

That includes Fort Sill, which is located in Oklahoma and has been home to more than 1,200 undocumented immigrants.

Fallin says her office was not notified about plans to use the vacant barracks for the purposes of housing 1,200 minors from Central America.

Appearing on Fox News' "On The Record," Fallin said she simply wants to know the "endgame" to the administration's plans for the refugees.

"We know it is going to have an impact on our schools. It could impact upon our healthcare facilities if they show up in our emergency rooms," she told host Greta van Susteren.

Fallin has questioned the administration about where the children are from and where they have been going, but inquiries have gone unanswered by federal officials, citing "privacy" concerns.


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