Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa said in an interview on Thursday that she has turned down a request for her state to house migrant children displaced amid the Biden administration’s border crisis 1,000 miles away.
Speaking with host Jeff Angelo of Des Moines-based WHO-AM radio, the governor said that the Department of Health and Human Services asked Iowans to house migrant children who are currently in overflowing detention facilities along the southern border.
Calling the border crisis a “national security issue,” Reynolds slammed the federal government for its open border policies and lack of transparency. Citing drug and human trafficking which already affects Iowans, she went after HHS.
“We will not do that,” Reynolds told Angelo. “We don’t have the facilities. We are not set up to do that. This is not our problem; this is the president’s problem.”
“He’s the one that’s opened the borders. He needs to be responsible for this and he needs to stop it. So, at this point, no,” she added emphatically.
Reynolds reminded the program that Iowans are already shuffling to find placement for foster children in the state.
“We have kids that we’re having trouble placing right now that are Iowa children,” she said. “States need to take a look at that and not be inundated.”
KCCI-TV reported the decision by Reynolds has drawn a scolding from one Iowa immigration advocate.
Ten sheriffs in the state have slammed President Joe Biden over the crisis at the border, and all are opposed to the state taking in refugees.
“Shame on the governor and those Iowa county sheriffs who are pandering to their hateful political base!!!” Joe Henry of the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa said.
NPR reported Thursday that 19,000 unaccompanied minors were taken into custody by immigration authorities in March — when 172,000 total people crossed the border and were apprehended. The number of border crossings was the highest in 15 years.
“The levels of flows pose a challenge to Border Patrol, but the high level of recidivism means that we can’t look at those flows as individual people. It’s often the same people coming back through,” an official with U.S. Customs and Border Protection said of the humanitarian emergency.
Despite the obvious crisis on the border in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, the Biden administration has refused to call the immigration situation a crisis and has instead chosen to downplay the number of children being housed in government facilities.
Harris is the official point woman on the border but has no reported immediate plans to visit the area.
The administration is currently keeping reporters as far from child migrant detention centers as possible as the federal government attempts to fund permanent homes for the children. Simultaneously, officials are blaming the crisis on former President Donald Trump.
On Thursday, an anonymous Biden administration official defended the situation on the border, telling CBS News: “We have made significant progress … nobody should have the expectation this is going to be solved overnight.”
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