Sen. Kirk claims 429 border kids in Chicago
BY LYNN SWEET Washington bureau chief July 10, 2014 11:09PM
Updated: August 12, 2014 6:43AM
WASHINGTON — Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., claimed on Thursday that 429 children have been sent to Chicago, in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, after arriving from Central America.
Kirk provided no other details about where in Chicago the children were being sheltered.
In a statement, Kirk said, “I just learned that 429 unaccompanied minors from the Mexican border crisis are now in Chicago and currently in Health and Human Services custody, but our State Department is unable to confirm if any of these individuals has a criminal record or background. If any of these individuals has a criminal record in their home country, our government owes it to the American people to facilitate a sharing of records and reassure our nation that these individuals pose no threat.”
On Wednesday, Kenneth J. Wolfe, Deputy director of the HHS Office of Public Affairs, Administration for Children and Families, was asked by the Sun-Times if HHS was checking out any shelters in Illinois for the border children. Wolfe in reply said, “In order to enhance the capability to transition unaccompanied children from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, facilities are being identified by the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. General Services Administration as potential locations to increase the medical care and temporary sheltering capacity of HHS. Organizations, communities and states have offered to help with this humanitarian response, and the Unified Coordination Group is also evaluating facilities proposed by state and local partners. While only a few facilities will ultimately be selected, a wide range of facilities are being identified and evaluated to determine if they may feasibly provide temporary shelter space for children. Facilities will be announced when they are identified as viable options.”