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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)

    3,000 border kids sent to Florida

    Resettlement of border kids in Florida sparks compassion, fear

    Thousands placed with families; more arrivals expected

    August 2, 2014
    By William E. Gibson, Washington Bureau

    WASHINGTON More than 3,000 children detained after illegally crossing the border into the Southwestern United States have quietly resettled in Florida this year, and the prospect of more arrivals has sparked a mixture of compassion and fear.

    Their resettlement, shrouded in secrecy, has been unfolding for months but only recently became controversial as throngs of children fleeing from Central America generated what some have called a "crisis at the border."

    Those advising the children say they should be nurtured and welcomed after a horrendous journey to escape violent gangs and grinding poverty in their homelands. But federal officials and community groups who care for them are bracing for a backlash as more arrive to be sheltered and resettled.

    "They are seen as criminals. It's crazy," said Julio Calderon, 25, who crossed the Rio Grande illegally eight years ago and now counsels some of the new arrivals in South Florida.

    "I am one of them," he said. "I crossed the border in 2006, coming from Honduras. It was the same issue. My mom was very scared of us [her children] dying or of gang members recruiting us. I don't think I would be alive if I stayed in Honduras.

    Calderon says he tells new arrivals, "'If I can make it, you can make it as well.'"

    But some Floridians worry that resettlement will only encourage more illegal migrations and overwhelm the border while taking resources away from Americans and those who came legally.

    "I'm not concerned about the children [coming to Florida]," U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said last week. "I am concerned about the ability of our social services and agencies to grapple with it. Florida already gets significant migrations that put a strain on schools, hospitals and other facilities. I am concerned about adding to that."

    Federal officials say the cost of housing, medical care, counseling and legal services for each child ranges from $250 to $1,000 a day. Most are teenagers from Central America especially Honduras, which has descended into lawlessness and corruption as violent gangs threaten families and recruit children with little fear of police intervention.

    Rubio and other members of Congress say the resettlement cost is one good reason to approve a spending bill to deal with the "border crisis."

    Faced with an escalating controversy, federal officials won't say how many children are coming to Florida or elsewhere. And they have forbidden the Children's Home Society of Florida a statewide group based in Winter Park and contracted to place border kids in foster care from providing information.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services did disclose that 30,340 children already have been placed with families through July 7, including 3,181 in Florida the third-largest number after Texas and New York. But in the name of protecting the children, department officials provided little information about new arrivals to be sheltered and placed in foster homes.

    Before being silenced, the Children's Home Society last month said that two dozen children were expected to be sent to Broward County and a dozen to Brevard County. Sources on Capitol Hill said several dozen are expected to arrive in Florida this month.

    News reports of chaos at the border and inadequate medical screening prompted a blitz of questions and suspicions from some Florida leaders and critics of the Obama administration.

    "If these reports are accurate, this 'systemic failure' in the federal system is extremely worrisome," Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong wrote to federal officials last month. He wanted to know "what medical services, if any, were provided to any children placed in Florida" and whether they had been tested for infectious diseases.

    U.S. Rep. Bill Posey of Rockledge, a Republican who represents Brevard County, wrote the White House: "It is wrong that American citizens, including those who became naturalized citizens at great personal expense and inconvenience by following the law, will be forced to foot the bill for a massive wave of foreign nationals crossing our border illegally."

    Posey spokesman George Cecala said many constituents fear that resettlement will encourage more illegal migrations. "Once you send them into the interior of the United States away from the border and the process by which they just came through, you set them up to stay here," Cecala said.

    Jesse Zermeno of Melbourne, president of Operation Hope, a nonprofit group that aids migrant workers, said he has seen "people and churches who care about the kids. But also I've seen people who don't care and want those people out of the country, which I do understand. I understand the need to protect the border."

    Immigration advocates note that Florida has been resettling refugees for decades, including unaccompanied children, without causing health problems.


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  2. #2
    3000 ?! Thrown on the taxpayers of the state

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