Indiana Gov.: 'We Learned From Media Reports More Than 200 Unaccompanied Children' Put in Our State

July 29, 2014 - 7:52 PM

Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.)

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Tuesday urged President Barack Obama to provide “timely and necessary information” to states about the placement of unaccompanied illegal minors after it was discovered that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sent 245 unaccompanied minors to Indiana in January, but did not notify the state until seven months later.

“In Indiana last week, we learned from media reports that more than two hundred unaccompanied children had been placed by the federal government with sponsors in our state,” said Pence in a letter to the president.

“Only after these media reports were published did the state receive notice from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that in fact 245 unaccompanied children had been placed in Indiana during the period from January 1, 2014 through July 7, 2014,” he said.

So far, 57,525 unaccompanied illegal children were apprehended on the southwest U.S. border in FY 2014 - a 106 percent increase compared to FY 2013, according to the Customs and Border Patrol.

"The federal government has not dealt with the crisis in an effective or transparent way with regard to states," Pence said.

"I have been informed that HHS will only provide monthly updated numbers of unaccompanied children placed in states during the first week of each month. This is unacceptable," he said.

Pence pointed out that his state will be responsible for the costs of educating the children as well as other health and welfare-related costs. Therefore, state officials "require transparency and timely information about their placement in the state."

"For example, in many districts across Indiana, the 2014-2015 school year starts in just a few days, and school officials need accurate information about unaccompanied children who will potentially be in their classrooms while placed with their sponsor," he said.

Pence also requested "real-time updates of unaccompanied children placed in Indiana, both for arrivals and departures, so that our state can react appropriately without a lag of weeks in receiving this information."

"I also request information related to the legal status of sponsors with whom children are being placed and the localities in which they reside," he said.

Pence noted that while he served in Congress, he proposed "sensible immigration reform measures" to strengthen the border and provide new and improved ways for immigrants to legally enter the country.

"What we are currently experiencing in Indiana and states across the nation as this crisis deepens, however, is neither sensible nor humane. States should not be asked by the federal government to deal with the consequences of a failed national immigration policy," he added.