Unaccompanied minors taken care of (well, sort of) by ORR

The Office of Refugee Resettlement is charged with the job of taking care of a growing number of illegal alien children who get into the US with parents who abandon them or get in with the help of human smugglers.  I came across a couple of mentions of this “business” recently.

The first is a Q & A published at a accident and divorce lawyers website here where a questioner asks why Mexican parents turn their kids over to human smugglers.  The article reports a Kansas case, which you can go read, and ends with this:

Typically in cases of illegal immigration by juveniles, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency policy calls for agents to work with social service agencies to return the children to their families in their home countries, said Jim Cross, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas.

ICE spokeswoman Gail Montenegro declined to release any information about the juveniles found in Kansas, citing privacy concerns. But she said all unaccompanied minors encountered by ICE are turned over to the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Department of Health & Human Services.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement gets about 7,200 unaccompanied illegal immigrant children a year in its facilities, said spokesman Kenneth Wolfe. Their average stay is 55 days before they are released to family members or sponsors, age out of the facility, or are returned to their home countries, he said.

When I used the word “business” above I didn’t just mean the business of human trafficking, but the “business” of caring for all these children whose parents have abandoned them.   ORR doesn’t have “facilities,” it contracts them out, which brings me to the California case.

“Non-profit” that runs home for unaccompanied minors sues state of California

Courthouse News tells us that a “non-profit” group whose “home” was found in violation of California law and ordered closed has sued California because they claim it will cause them to break their federal contract.  I’m no lawyer, but does this mean that if the contractor wins they can put unaccompanied kids in some sort of jeopardy just so as not to hurt their contractual arrangement with ORR?  And, get this they are citing the Supremacy clause claiming that California can’t cite them for violating California laws!

SACRAMENTO (CN) – A detention home for undocumented children sued the California Department of Social Services, claiming the state’s attempt to shut it down would violate the facility’s contract with the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Plaintiff BCFS-Health and Human Services houses boys who are believed to be in the United States illegally, “and who have had some criminal arrest or conviction.”

The federal complaint states: “These children, who are also known as ‘unaccompanied alien children,’ do not have parents or guardians who are available to care for them. The BCFS facility provides shelter and care to these children while the federal government determines the appropriate next steps toward reconnecting them with their families.”

The BCFS facility was licensed as a group home in October 2009, and was allowed to house up to 24 children at a time.

But California’s Department of Social Services refused to renew its provisional license in October this year, after several visits to the facility revealed several violations.

BCFS claims:

“Further, defendants have failed to consider the obligations that flow from BCFS’s grant from ORR, and BCFS’s need to provide a safe, secure environment for the group of unaccompanied alien minors at their facility to further the goals and policies of the federal government.”

BCFS asks the court to declare the state regulations preempted by federal law, and that the state’s denial of licensing a violation of the Supremacy Clause.

Can you imagine the power a “non-profit” could have in a state if they can claim their federal contract lets them get out of state laws because federal law supercedes state law!   In other words, ORR in partnership with a  non-profit contractor could say, ‘too bad for you state government.’

See more on BCFS, Baptist Child & Family Services, here and here.  Finally, for the umpteenth time I ask, where is the ACLU to uphold the separation of church and state?

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