(CNSNews.com) - As tens of thousands of illegal aliens migrate from the Southwest border into communities across the United States, Republican lawmakers want to know who they are, where they're going, with whom they are staying, and for how long.
"We want a state-by-state breakdown, and we want to know what their court date is, that they actually show up to their court date," Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) told Fox News on Wednesday.
Terry is introducing a bill that would require greater transparency on the part of the administration. He acted after learning that around 200 unaccompanied minors from Central America had been placed in Nebraska without anyone knowing about it.
"The public does have a right to know what's happening," White House spokesman Josh Earnest conceded on Wednesday.
"At the same time, there are privacy rights that are included in the law that this administration is committed to enforcing and following. So we're going to abide by the privacy rights of particular individuals. ...And we're also going to do our best to communicate with the public precisely what this administration is doing."
Terry says the Obama administration has a duty to make the information available to Congress, state officials and the public:
He said his legislation would direct the attorney general, in consultation with the homeland security secretary, "to report to Congress and the American people on how many unaccompanied children have entered our country, where they’re being sent, how many of them have been given immigration hearing dates, and how many of them are showing up for these hearings."
He said schools and local health clinics are being "surprised" by the sudden influx of illegal aliens -- "so obviously we're not being told the truth."
Terry admits the prospects for passage aren't good: "So far, the only co-sponsors we have of this legislation are Republicans. No Democrat will get on this bill. It seems common sense. We talk about transparency. It's time they back it up."
White House spokesman Earnest said on Wedneday the administration "is working in close consultation with state and local officials to try to meet these needs (of the illegal immigrants) and to do that in a way that it protects communities."
But his "privacy" excuse was dismissed as a "crock" by conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer.
"Privacy? If you tell a governor that a certain number of illegal alien children are coming to a certain facility, there is no issue of privacy involved. He's not naming names. He's not putting a photograph on the Internet," Krauthammer told Fox News on Wednesday.
"This is clearly an attempt by the administration to handle a problem by concealing it from the people who most have to know, meaning the governors, the mayors and the American people," he said.