Feds place border crossing children in Alabama and Georgia - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Feds place border crossing children in Alabama and Georgia

ATLANTA, GA (WTVM) -

The number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) who are allowed to cross the border into the United States has risen dramatically over the past three years.

The Federal Office of Refugee Resettlement predicts they will take 60,000 children into their custody by the end of this year, which is more than twice last year's number, and about nine times the average in the past decade.

When children are taken into custody, they're distributed to communities around the country as they await their immigration hearings.

Alabama has received about 400 children over the past six months, and earlier this week, Governor Deal learned for the first time that Georgia is home to over 1,000 unaccompanied alien children.

Deal wrote a letter to President Obama expressing his disappointment that the federal government has kept it a secret until now.

"The Governor, first and foremost, sees this as a humanitarian crisis.  He is concerned about the safety and welfare of these children, who are victims of a misguided federal policy," said Brian Robinson, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Governor's Communications.

He said the Obama administration is sending a message to the children of Central America that if they come to this country illegally, they have a good shot at staying.

If the plan is indeed to send the children back to their home countries, the governor's office has questions about how federal agencies are going to make that happen when the majority of children don't show up for their immigration hearings.

But what the Governor is most concerned about is the lack of communication. He feels blind sided by the news that large numbers of UAC are being housed in Georgia without his office being notified. They're still seeking answers from the federal government to a number of questions.

"We don't know where they are, we don't know where they're staying, we don't know who they're with, we don't know if they're in danger. We don't know if they're enrolled in school or if they have access to health care. We don't know if they're in school without the proper immunizations," said Robinson.

The Governor's office is speculating that very few of these children are in the Columbus metro area, but they don't know it for a fact.

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