Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds last week became the first state leader to refuse requests by the Biden administration to house illegal immigrant children that the administration is transporting to emergency housing facilities across the United States amid a surge of thousands crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Associated Press reported that Reynolds said the influx of child migrants “is the president’s problem,” rejecting the administration’s request that Iowa accepts illegal immigrant children into the state.
“This is not our problem,” Reynolds said, noting that Iowa does not have the temporary facilities needed by the Department of Housing and Human Services. “This is the president’s problem. He’s the one that has opened the border, and he needs to be responsible for this and he needs to stop it.”
Reynolds said that the health and safety of Iowans were her top priority.
The midwestern state’s Department of Human Services apparently made the call after assessing Iowa’s ability to hand both local and federal needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is due to limited resources and administrative concerns. We have an obligation to take care of our children first and absent the resources or a clear and comprehensive plan for federal support, we were unable to accommodate the request,” Iowa’s director of Human Services said in a statement to the White House. “We acknowledge this is an incredibly saddening and difficult situation.”
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster also rejected the Biden administration’s request to place migrant children in the state’s foster care system via executive order Tuesday, NBC 12 reported.
“South Carolina’s children must always be given first priority for placement into foster care and the State’s strained resources must be directed to addressing the needs of its children,” McMaster said in a letter to Department of Social Services Director Michael Leach.
He continued, “Allowing the federal government to place an unlimited number of unaccompanied migrant children into our state’s child welfare system for an unspecified length of time is an unacceptable proposition. We’ve been down this road with the federal government before and the state usually ends up ‘on the hook.’”
Earlier this month, the Biden administration started flying migrant children to states across the U.S., including 240 children aged 12 and under who were sent to an emergency intake center in Albion, Mich., according to The Washington Examiner.
“I am appalled,” said GOP Representative Lisa McClain. “President Biden’s open-border policies are encouraging parents to send their kids into our country alone. It is irresponsible and past time the president gets the situation at the border under control.”