Dear Mr. President:
We write to you to express our concern about the growing crisis resulting from the influx of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) coming across the Southern border into the United States and to request information about your administration's handling of the release of unaccompanied alien children to sponsors in the state of Tennessee.
According to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), 760 unaccompanied children apprehended by immigration authorities have been released to sponsors in Tennessee in 2014. We have been informed by Governor Bill Haslam that the State of Tennessee received no prior notice about the release of these children, nor has any attempt been made to collaborate with state and local governments.
Given the considerable impact the release of unaccompanied alien children could have on federal, state, and local resources, we ask that you provide us with the following information:
1. What is the current number of unaccompanied alien children released to sponsors in Tennessee, by locality?
2. How many unaccompanied alien children are currently in ORR custody in Tennessee, by locality?
3. How was the determination made that these children would be placed in Tennessee?
4. For what conditions have these children been screened, vaccinated, or treated?
5. What requirements, including citizenship/residency status, must sponsors meet to host unaccompanied alien children?
6. What communication and appearances with ORR or DHS are required of sponsors to ensure the appropriate agency has knowledge of the location of all unaccompanied alien children throughout their immigration proceedings?
7. What percentage of unaccompanied alien children released to sponsors fully participate in immigration proceedings to the point that their status is verified or they are returned to their home countries?
8. How long do you estimate these children will be in the care of ORR or sponsors in Tennessee?
We believe the care and processing of the unaccompanied alien children in our country is of the utmost importance and must receive your direct and immediate attention. We hope that you will make strengthening our border and enforcing immigration laws a priority to reduce the incentives behind the dangerous practice of unaccompanied children traveling to the United States.
We thank you for taking our thoughts into consideration and look forward to your prompt response.