Prince Wiliam County officials: We weren't informed child immigrants were coming
BRISTOW, Va. (WJLA) - Some of the thousands of children who have crossed the U.S. border, fleeing violence and extortion in Central America, are now being housed in Prince William County.
Federal officials are making arrangements to house the children with private and religious organizations, but they are not saying where.
Prince William County officials say they only found out about the children arriving there because the local shelter taking them in volunteered the information.
An estimated 57,000 immigrant children without their parents have crossed over the border and into the United States recently.
The federal government is making arrangements with around a hundred organizations around the country to house them.
Hundreds of miles from the border, some of the children are finding shelter at the Youth For Tomorrow facility in Bristow, Virginia.
"Health and Human Services did not inform the county. We're somewhat upset about that," said Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart. "I'm concerned these children may be housed here permanently, and of course, there is going to be a drain on our educational system and other county services."
Federal officials have been trying to send the message that the borders are not open for undocumented immigrants. Some families are being sent back. Ultimately, the decision is in the hands of an immigration judge.
"If an immigration judge determines that they face a credible threat of death upon their return to their home country, then - again, I'm not an immigration judge, but - it is likely that the immigration judge will find that that person should be granted humanitarian relief," says Josh Earnest, White House press secretary.
Stewart says it’s all setting a bad precedent.
"If these children are allowed to stay...and you have to have sympathy for them...it sends the unfortunate message to the rest of impoverished Latin America that all you got to do is make it to the U.S. and we will house you here permanently," Stewart said.
Stewart adds that he fears “this relatively small number of children that have relocated to Prince William County is just the tip of the iceberg."