State Capitol News
8:52 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Homeland Security Head Defends the Department’s Child Welfare Policies

The head of Homeland Security denied Thursday that what his agency is doing with children flooding into this country illegally is only encouraging more to come. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

Credit Department of Homeland Security


 

In the last nine months Customs and Border Protection reports more than 47,000 unaccompanied children have entered the country. That compares with fewer than 25,000 the same time a year earlier. Jeh Johnson acknowledged that his agency turns these children over to the Department of Health and Human Services which provides food, medical screening — and then turns them over to family, other relatives or even friends in this country.

“So, yes. We provide a number of things for children when we find them because the law requires it and because our values require it. But it is not safe. It is not a desirable situation. And I would encourage no parent to send their child or send for their child through this process,” Johnson said.

And, he said even if a child gets across the border, what happens next is far from desirable.

“A processing center — and a number of us here have seen them ourselves — are no place for children. And to put a child into the hands of a criminal smuggling organization is not safe, either,” he said.

Johnson said those arriving now need to understand they’re not eligible for the Obama administration’s deferred action program or amnesty under legislation now being considered by Congress.