Nebraska Seeks Info on Immigrant Children Sent Here

By: Nick Starling/ Associated Press Email
By: Nick Starling/ Associated Press Email

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Governor Dave Heineman and most of the congressional delegation have asked federal officials for information about more than 200 unaccompanied immigrant children who have been placed with relatives or sponsors in Nebraska.

The children are among tens of thousands who have crossed the southern U.S. border illegally and unaccompanied by parents during the recent children's migration from Central America.

A letter addressed Monday to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell says the agency's handling of matter lacks transparency and coordination with states and local governments.

"So far they've engaged in what I call a secret operation to bring illegal individuals to our state," said Heineman.

The letter was signed by Gov. Heineman, Sens. Deb Fischer and Mike Johanns, and Reps. Adrian Smith and Lee Terry. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry didn't sign the missive.

"They say they believe in transparency, well if you believe in transparency show us the information tell us what's going on. no mayor in this state nor I have had any official contact letting us know what's transpired," said Heineman.

The main worry Heineman says he has with these children being in Nebraska is who is going to foot the bill for services like education.

"We need to make sure that they don't receive any federal or state funded taxpayer benefits that they are not entitled to," said Heineman.

Heineman says a possible solution is to send the National Guard down to the border to help keep the illegal immigrants in their countries. Heineman fears this problem is only going to get worse.

"I worry that number is going to escalate, it's going to escalate very very quickly," said Heineman. "There's no question we have a huge crisis on our hands."


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