Republican Tennessee House candidate Patsy Hazlewood applauded Governor Bill Haslam's demand for answers of the Barack Obama Administration after data posted Thursday indicate that 760 unaccompanied illegal minors "have been released by the Office of Refugee Resettlement to sponsors in Tennessee."
The Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families released "state-by-state placement" data indicating a total of 30,340 "unaccompanied children" by the Office of Refugee Resettlement throughout the United States.
Officials said 760 of this total have been placed in Tennessee with no prior information provided to Tennessee's Governor or the Haslam Administration.
"I support Governor Haslam's efforts to get concrete answers that will have a tangible impact in the classrooms of our children in a matter of days," Ms. Hazlewood stated. "In less than two weeks, our children will attend their first day of school. We must assure that the current laws of this state are enforced and the health of our children is the priority."
Governor Haslam's letter written directly to President Barack Obama asks the following questions:
- What was the process for determining that these children should be released to sponsors in Tennessee?
- How did you locate and evaluate the fitness of their sponsors?
- What medical screening were the children given prior to their release in Tennessee?
- What is the official immigration status of these children and their sponsors?
- In what localities are these children now residing?
- What are the legal requirements concerning the provision of services for these children while they are in the state?
- What additional information is available on these children, such as age and health status?
- How long will these children by in Tennessee?
"I strongly support the full enforcement of current Tennessee law that prohibits the practice of harboring illegal immigrants who are outside the legal process and that no state tax dollars be used to fund services to non-citizens," Ms. Hazlewood continued.
The Haslam letter dated, Friday, July 25, "clearly expresses that previous requests that information be provided on the anticipated placement of these illegal immigrants was ignored."
Tennessee public schools will report for the first day of class on Thursday, Aug. 7.
"Law-abiding and tax-paying citizens of Tennessee are seeing services strained and school budgets stretched. Having unexpected, illegal students in class with no known health or vaccination history is problematic," Ms. Hazlewood said. "I agree with Governor Haslam. This is unacceptable."