Alexander Insists on Answers from President on Unaccompanied Alien Children in Tennessee

Joins Tennessee congressional Republicans in letter to president, supports legislation to solve immigration crisis and stop president from exceeding constitutional authority

Posted on July 31, 2014

***

“In addition to unilaterally changing his failed health care law, making recess appointments when the Senate isn’t in recess and appointing more czars than the Romanovs, President Obama now is threatening to change immigration laws without regard to constitutional limits on executive authority. Our Founders did not want a king, and the American people do not want a president who acts like one.” – Lamar Alexander

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2014 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today joined a letter, led by U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) and signed by all Republican members of the Tennessee congressional delegation, including Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), to President Obama insisting that the president answer questions raised by Gov. Bill Haslam and other state officials about the location of 760 unaccompanied children who were detained at the southern U.S. border but released to sponsors in Tennessee.

In addition, Alexander announced his support for two pieces of legislation to address the current border crisis. The first is legislation sponsored by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) that would speed up the process for sending home unaccompanied minors safely and humanely.

Second, he is cosponsoring an amendment offered by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), which is identical to legislation sponsored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) in the House, that would stop funding for the president’s unilateral actions on immigration that exceed his constitutional authority.

On Tuesday, Alexander voted against President Obama’s proposal to address the crisis of unaccompanied children entering the United States, which Alexander said was not a “serious plan.”

The letter to the president states, “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.”

Alexander announced support for legislation sponsored in the House by Rogers that would speed up the process of sending the unaccompanied children home safely and humanely. Alexander said, “The House solution is a correct solution to this surge of unaccompanied children illegally crossing our border because it makes it possible for the United States to safely and humanely send the children home.”

Alexander is also cosponsoring an amendment proposed by Cruz and Blackburn that would prohibit funding for the President’s misguided “deferred action” executive order he issued in 2012 and restricts the president’s ability to give illegal aliens the ability to work in the United States. Alexander said, “In addition to unilaterally changing his failed health care law, making recess appointments when the Senate isn’t in recess and appointing more czars than the Romanovs, President Obama now is threatening to change immigration laws without regard to constitutional limits on executive authority. Our Founders did not want a king, and the American people do not want a president who acts like one.”

On Tuesday, Alexander voted against the Democrats’ Emergency Supplemental Appropriations legislation, which includes the president’s request for funding to address the recent influx of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S. border. For more information on Alexander’s vote and the plan he has proposed, clickhere.

The full text of the letter follows:

July 31, 2014

The President

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

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.

Sincerely,

 

# # #