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Krieger, Kauffman and Nearly Two Dozen State Lawmakers Express Public Safety Concerns Regarding Unaccompanied Immigrant Children
7/29/2014
HARRISBURG – State Reps. Tim Krieger (R-Delmont), Rob Kauffman (R-Chambersburg) and 19 other state lawmakers sent the following letter to members of the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation today to express their collective public safety concerns regarding the 500 unaccompanied minors who are now being housed throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

“Over the past several days, the public has learned that over 500 unaccompanied immigrant children are being housed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We have concerns regarding the potential threat to public safety that this situation may cause.

“Information cited in news reports and obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare indicates that these minors have been dispersed throughout the Commonwealth. Some are apparently housed in private homes and with religious organizations in our communities, while others are housed in two temporary centers – one in Bethlehem and one in Reading. We understand that additional facilities may be brought online in the near future.

“Both the dispersion of these individuals in our communities and demographic information regarding these young immigrants are cause for concern. According to the U.S. Department of Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), most of the unaccompanied alien children who enter our nation illegally are over 14 years of age and approximately three-quarters are male. According to ORR, in fiscal year 2013, 37 percent of the youth in its Unaccompanied Alien Children Program were from Guatemala, 26 percent were from El Salvador and 30 percent were from Honduras. These three nations have been plagued by drug cartel and criminal gang activity in recent years.

“Given the demographics of these young immigrants and their home countries, and the fact that over 57,000 unaccompanied children were taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection between October 2013 and June 30, 2014, we believe that there is some risk that a portion of these young people could be affiliated with criminal gangs. We are writing today to ask that you give serious consideration to this potential safety concern and that you take action to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth.

“Additionally, we are writing to request that you and/or the appropriate federal agencies provide information to officials, law enforcement and residents of communities in which unaccompanied minor immigrants are housed, so that preparations can be made for any potential public safety threats. On behalf of our constituents, we also ask that you report back to us regarding processes and penalties that will apply to unaccompanied minors who leave the custody of their family, facility, shelter or home without permission. What steps will be taken to retrieve these individuals and to ensure that they do not escape again?

“As our nation faces this unprecedented challenge, we must keep the safety of our citizens at the forefront and the rule of law as our guiding principal. Thank you in advance for your concern and cooperation.” 
 
To view a copy of the letter and a list of signatories, click here.

For the latest legislative updates, visit RepKrieger.com or RepKauffman.com.

Representative Tim Krieger
57th District
Representative Rob Kauffman
89th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Ty McCauslin
717.772.9979
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