Republicans in the House and Senate are demanding that the Obama administration provide Congress with updates about where it is placing unaccompanied children that cross the southern U.S. border.
Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) proposed similar legislation on Monday that would require officials to offer monthly updates about how many kids are in each state. The House bill would also require information on how many children have failed to appear before an immigration judge as required.
Over the last few weeks, federal officials have said said nearly half of those who are given an immigration hearing date never show up for that date. Additionally, a GOP House member said his understanding is that some children are being given two to three years before they have to show up for their hearing.
The Nebraska Republicans proposed their bills after they were informed that 200 border children were being housed in their home state.
“My staff was made aware during a briefing with Department of Homeland Security that there may be approximately 200 unaccompanied minors from Central America that have been placed in Nebraska, but DHS cannot account for their whereabouts,” Terry said. “I believe that DHS should make this information available to the Congress, state officials and the public.”
Terry said the border crisis is the fault of President Barack Obama, who has been “unwilling” to enforce the law.
“If the president is going to ask me to vote to spend $4 billion taxpayer dollars to fix a crisis he caused, he and his administration need to level with the American people and tell us if these children are being sent into our communities,” he said.
Sen. Johanns said that so far, the Department of Health and Human Services has also refused to provide information about where the unaccompanied children are being sent.
“Frankly, the entire federal approach to this crisis has been misguided,” Johanns said. “Because the president has refused to address the cause of the crisis, I am working with my colleagues to develop solutions.”