The future of unaccompanied immigrant children in Florida remains uncertain

Whether Florida closes the door to unaccompanied immigrant children remains a question that the federal government sending these children here requires the state to be straight.

In a letter obtained by investigative journalist Katie LaGrone, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) temporarily takes care of unaccompanied immigrant children as part of decades ago to the DeSantis administration. We are calling for a set of misleading new rules regarding shelters. program.

In a letter dated December 23, 2021, the federal government threatened Florida with legal action. “In the absence of significant clarification, the approach reflected in the emergency rules raises serious legal concerns, and if this issue cannot be resolved amicably, HHS will utilize it, including referencing the issue to the Department of Justice. We will pursue all possible options, “said Mark Greenberg, Deputy Legal Advisor. For the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

“We are pleased to hear from the federal government,” said Tessa Petit, co-managing director of the Florida Immigration Union, a social justice organization that defends immigrant rights.

“It helps us to understand that we are not the only ones who do not understand what is happening.”

Petit is responding to controversial moves, first released in November by investigative journalist Katie Lagrlone and photographer Matthew Apsorpe.That’s when the Florida research team discovered in response. Governor’s order Florida’s Children and Family Affairs Bureau (DCF), which cracks down on what Florida’s illegal immigrants and Governor DeSantis called the “Bidden Border Crisis,” is funded by the federal government to care for unaccompanied children. Mysteriously stopped renewal of Florida shelters and foster parents’ state licenses. When they arrive in the United States, but before they are placed here with family and sponsors. The federal program is run by the Refugee Resettlement Administration.

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Later, LaGrone suddenly relocated nearly 60 children because one federal-funded shelter in Sarasota, known as the Dream Center, did not renew its license and explain why. I found out.

Sam Sipes is the CEO of Lutheran Services in Tampa, which runs the Dream Center. Sipes told La Grone how difficult it is to relocate to nearly 100 staff working at the center, many of whom were at risk of life in the United States seeking freedom.

“This place was for many of those kids, and most of them were the first places they felt safe. Oh yeah, sad,” he told us in November.

As a result of the state’s obstruction, Florida’s Lutheran Service has sued the state. DCF renewed its Dream Center license last month. This was the day before explaining to the judge why the DCF did not respond to the center about the license renewal.

Past coverage

Unaccompanied children were forced to move from a federal-funded Florida shelter.

More children are being uprooted and expelled from Florida shelters and homes

The American Academy of Pediatrics is calling on Governor DeSantis to overturn the policy for unaccompanied children.

Dream Center was relicensed almost at the same time, DCF was a series Confusing new management rules Govern a shelter that accommodates unaccompanied minors as part of a federal program

Regulations that will not come into force until February include restricting shelters from accepting unaccompanied children, and the federal government details who will be sent to Florida and puts them in the state before they have children. You must have a cooperation agreement with the state to notify you in advance. Sent here from the southern border.

But what this agreement or advance notice means remains unclear to us, these shelters, and apparently the federal government.

“Although we can provide the information needed to understand the policies and procedures, HHS will request a separate review in each case of Florida before the child is placed in the facility. I didn’t agree to allow that, “said the Federal Letter.

Immigrant advocates agree.

“What about their protection as a minor child,” Petite asked. “What about their protection as far as all forms of harassment are concerned, and how can we not restrict minors’ access to information after they enter the system?” Asked Petite.

Critics called for DeSantis to crack down on children, play politically, and appeal to his base as rumors swirled about the potential of the White House in 2024.

In November, when La Grone first broke the story, Orlando’s leading Democrat, Florida Parliamentarian Anna Eskamani, said she felt she was using her child as a “political pawn.” Eskamani also said DeSantis puts these mission-based community organizations that provide these shelters in the midst of political debate.

“The DeSantis administration has a grudge against the Biden administration, so they shouldn’t be punished,” Escamani said.

However, the governor firmly defended the move and continued to defend his decision when he confronted him in December at a roundtable in Tampa.

“Why do you get your children involved in this immigration controversy,” asked reporter Katie Lagrlone.

More coverage

Governor DeSantis has not come across a move to drive hundreds of immigrant children out of Florida

New rules for shelters with unaccompanied immigrant children in Florida

“I want resources that focus on the needs of children in Florida and the needs of our community,” DeSantis said. When LaGrone put pressure on him, he added that the shelter was funded by the federal government, and DeSantis replied, “I answered your question, thank you.”

In response to a federal letter requesting the federal government to respond to Florida by December 30, Governor spokesman Christina Pushau said in an email, “We are currently considering and will not provide a response at this time. “. Pushau is in bold, “Instead of enforcing federal immigration law, it is the Biden administration’s threat to legal action against our state on policies to protect Floridians from the Biden border crisis and human smuggling operations. It’s ironic, “he added.

During a state speech earlier this week, Governor DeSantis reiterated his commitment to stop illegal immigrants to Florida.

“When the federal government dumps people here in Florida, Florida should not be burdened with our federal government’s illegal open door policy,” he added. Florida in “The Secret Flight at Midnight”.

“It doesn’t justify endangering the lives of thousands of children and misrepresenting what America is,” Petite said. “If we want to fight as adults, fight as adults, but don’t include children in this fight.”

The future of unaccompanied immigrant children in Florida remains uncertain

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