Regional
5:53 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Feds Place 50 'Border' Children in Wisconsin; GOP Lawmakers Object

Detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility, on June 18, 2014, in Brownsville,Texas. Brownsville and Nogales, Ariz. have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1.
Detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility, on June 18, 2014, in Brownsville,Texas. Brownsville and Nogales, Ariz. have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1.
Credit Getty Images

The Office of Refugee Resettlement reports placing 50 children, who arrived at the southern border without parents, at undisclosed locations in Wisconsin.

Immigration offices have been overwhelmed by the thousands of children coming to the U.S. border, especially from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Many say they are fleeing gangs and violence.

Shortly after the federal agency released a state-by-state breakdown on Thursday, showing where it has sent some of the children, four Wisconsin legislators released a letter, asking the Dept. of Homeland Security not to place refugee children in Wisconsin.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and three Republican colleagues - Reps. Joel Kleefisch, John Nygren and  David Craig say Wisconsin must take care of its own first, and not give priority to unaccompanied children who illegally entered the country.

Contents of the letter include:

"While we understand this situation requires compassion, we believe it is in the best interest of the minors to be relocated near our nation's southern border, allowing for prompt reunification of families."

"As elected officials in Wisconsin, we are beyond frustrated that the administration is neglecting its obligation to uphold the law while failing to provide adequate information to state officials."

"Another concern is that the "temporary" relocation is actually a permanent one that will undoubtedly cause a significant drain on  local and state budgets impacting public education and public health systems."

"There are also questions about the health status and whether local health officials have been alerted to the potential health risks in their communities."

In Milwaukee, the federal government had asked the group Catholic Charities if it could secure resources, in the event 'border children' were placed here. Madison city officials were working to identify a building there, that could be used to temporarily house children.

The federal system needs time to conduct hearings for each, to determine whether they should be placed with families in the U.S. or deported.