Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R) is fuming after the Obama administration reportedly released 760 illegal immigrant children to sponsors in his state without ever informing him of the decision.
Now, Haslam is demanding “immediate answers.”
In a stern letter to President Barack Obama on July 25, Haslam said it is “unacceptable that we became aware via a posting on the HHS website that 760 unaccompanied children have been released by the Office of Refugee Resettlement to sponsors in Tennessee without my administration’s knowledge.”
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam leads a discussion during a meeting of the Health and Human Services Committee at the National Governors Association convention Saturday, July 12, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
“Not only was our state not informed prior to any of the children being brought here, I still have not been contacted and have no information about these individuals or their sponsors other than what was posted on the HHS website and subsequently reported by media,” he continued.
The Republican governor also said his administration needs answers to the following eight questions regarding the illegal immigrant children:
1. What was the process for determining that these children should be released to sponsors in Tennessee?
2. How did you locate and evaluate the fitness of their sponsors?
3. What medical screenings were the children given prior to their release in Tennessee?
4. What is the official immigration status of these children and their sponsors?
5. In what localities are these children now residing?
6. What are the legal requirements concerning the provision of services for these children while they are in the state?
7. What additional information is available on these children, such as age and health status?
8. How long will these children be in Tennessee?
Boys await medical appointments in a holding area where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Nogales, Ariz. (AP/Ross D. Franklin, Pool)
As Fox News’ Todd Starnes reports, White House press secretary Josh Earnest has previously told reporters that illegal immigrant children have a right to privacy when pressed about the secrecy surrounding the controversial developments.
In closing, Haslam wrote to Obama: "Tennessee is a diverse and welcoming state, and we also understand that this is a complicated issue. However, an influx of unaccompanied immigrant children to the state, with little information being made available to the public or to state leaders, creates confusion and could be very problematic."
He also accused the federal government of causing "great uncertainty" in the state as the start of a new school year is near for districts across the state.
Read Haslam's entire letter to Obama here.