Rockwall receiving 300 unaccompanied minors from Central America
(Canton, TX) – Without any prior consultation or coordination with local officials, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced yesterday that approximately 1000 unaccompanied minors from Central America are being delivered to Texas. These minors were captured in the Rio Grande Valley trying to enter the U.S. illegally. In addition, the department notified Rockwall County that around 300 of these minors will be placed in Rockwall County at Sabine Creek Ranch. It is unacceptable to bring hundreds of unaccompanied minors to Texas and not seek any local input or coordination. “DHHS is acting without transparency and is operating as a rogue agency,” said Hall. This lack of coordination with state officials demonstrates yet again that the federal government is in total disarray and lacks any ability to plan or implement a safe and cohesive refugee or immigration strategy. This incident is happening in the midst of ongoing legal arguments between state and federal officials over bringing un-vetted Syrian refugees into Texas against the will of the people. The Obama Administration is using federal agencies like DHHS as instruments to circumvent state authority and congressional approval.
Reportedly, the unaccompanied minors are primarily of Central American descent and are between the ages of 12 and 18. Since DHHS has no plans to release any further specific information to state officials about the individual’s to be housed in Rockwall County, there is no way of verifying their claim . The lack of information about the minors is specifically troubling in light of the fact that earlier last month, several Syrian’s with ties to extremist were caught entering the U.S. from Mexico. Consequently, DHHS has left us with no way of assessing the security risk from the minors being placed in Texas. Senator Hall joined with Attorney General Paxton in calling for transparency from DHHS saying, “Texans have a fundamental right to know who the federal government is placing in our communities.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of these youth during their wait to be placed in homes or with relatives. According to federal law, DHHS may temporarily hold these minors for a maximum of 21 days. At this time, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is not assisting or providing state resources in the settlement of these minors. In addition, the Texas Department of Public Safety, while aware of this situation, is not directly providing security for the facility that will hold these unaccompanied minors. Senator Hall is sensitive to the needs and safety of these unaccompanied minors. However, he would like to see the state take a more proactive role in guiding this process rather than being completely reactive. Last month, Senator Hall wrote a letter to Governor Abbott urging him to consider implementing an Interstate Compact for Refugee Resettlement Management. This sound constitutional mechanism would return refugee resettlement programs to the authority of the states. A refugee resettlement management compact could give Texas and other compacting states the authority to handle a situation like we see today.
Senator Hall’s first priority is the safety and security of the citizens of Rockwall County. The federal government has once again shown contempt for the health and safety of the people of Texas. Hall states, “I am currently working with the Governor, Lt. Governor, and DPS to insure Rockwall citizens are safe and their best interests are represented. I strongly believe local officials should have a vital role in advising what is best for these minors being placed in our backyard and especially what is best for the citizens who already live here in Texas.”