Obama administration turns to governors for help with immigrant children

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell held meetings in Nashville with dozens of U.S. governors this Sunday, July 13. The meetings, which were private, were an attempt to gain support from the leaders of states that will be hosting thousands of unaccompanied children who’ve come across the border. Since October 1, 2013, more than 57,000 child immigrants have crossed into America. That number is anticipated to reach 90,000 prior to the end of the calendar year.

Unsurprisingly, Burwell experienced mixed reactions from the various governors with whom she met. Many of the Republican governors that she spoke with remained staunchly against any sort of amnesty for undocumented immigrants in America, particularly in their home states. Three of the most outspoken critics in this group were Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Iowa Gov. Terry Brandstad.

Brandstad, Christie and Walker, who have frequently dissented from the President’s views on immigration, all believe that the Obama administration’s plan to send unaccompanied child immigrants to stay with friends or family in America is misguided. Current law requires that children who cross into America alone from countries that don’t share our border be turned over to HHS within 72 hours for processing.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper indicated his desire to aid the immigrant children, but to do so in an economical fashion.

“Our citizens already feel burdened by all kinds of challenges. They don’t want to see another burden come into their state,” Hickenlooper told the Associated Press. “However we deal with the humanitarian aspects of this, we’ve got to do it in the most cost-effective way possible.”

While Burwell received a great deal more support from the governors of blue states, there was still concern regarding the bottom line of the situation. Many of these officials expressed worry regarding the cost to their state, particularly within the realm of providing public education and social services to these undocumented children.