HOUSTON, Texas–As unaccompanied minors continue to illegally cross the Texas-Mexico border, President Obama’s Health and Human Services (HHS) has been quietly releasing them onto U.S. soil. A total of 30,340 unaccompanied minors have already been released from federal custody and placed into foster homes, according to HHS’ Office of Refugee and Resettlement (ORR). While many migrants have been released in border states like Texas and California, others have been set free in Alaska.
A spokesman from HHS confirmed to Breitbart Texas that as of July 7, five unaccompanied minors were released in Alaska. “Between January 1 and July 7, 2014, a total of five minors were discharged from the Unaccompanied Alien Children program to sponsors in Alaska,” the spokesman said.
The trip from McAllen, Texas–where the current border crisis is occurring–to Anchorage, Alaska is a nine and a half hour flight. This is almost double the time it would take to fly the migrants back to their home countries in Central America; a flight from McAllen to El Salvador takes just over five hours, according to Google Maps.
The federal government‘s reasons for transporting unaccompanied minors all the way to Alaska are unclear. Some of the minors have also been flown to Hawaii, according to Fox News’ Todd Starnes.
Millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars have been spent flying illegal immigrants to locations around the nation. Breitbart Texas recently revealed that a Department of Homeland Security budget for Fiscal Year 2015 includes more than $87 million for the transportation of illegal immigrants, who are most often flown via charter plane from Southern Texas to shelters located in various U.S. cities.
Subsequent to a short stay in federal housing facilities, most of the minors are released from custody. They promise to show up at an immigration court hearing at a future date, but many never do. Foster families, or “sponsors,” for children migrants are often located through nonprofit organizations at various locations in the U.S. Breitbart Texas has reported closely on the process of becoming a foster parent of a foreign youth–in some cases, sponsors can receive up to $7,400 per month for housing up to six illegal immigrants at a time. The payments are dispersed by the federal government.
“ORR cares for the children in shelters around the country until they can be released to a sponsor, typically a parent or relative, who can care for the child while their immigration case is processed,” an HHS webpage says. “Ensuring that a potential sponsor can safely and appropriately care for the child is a top priority. A background check is conducted on all potential sponsors, and steps are taken to verify a potential sponsor’s identity and relationship to the child. In some cases where concerns are raised, a home study is done. Before children are released to a sponsor, they receive vaccinations and medical screenings. We do not release any children who have a contagious condition.”
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.