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Republican Governors Block Unaccompanied Migrant Children

The federal foster care system was unprepared to house the record nearly 19,000 unaccompanied children who came to the United States in March, so the Biden administration asked some states to temporarily house them.

Republican governors in Iowa, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming said no.

The governors claim that unaccompanied children would displace those already in state foster care or limit states’ ability to make new placements.

On Nov. 18, a federal judge ruled that unaccompanied migrant children could not be expelled under Title 42. An appeals court in January ruled that the federal government could resume expelling unaccompanied children, but in February the Biden administration amended the Title 42 order to exempt them.

“The law does not permit any policy that turns away anyone under 18 that arrives at the border unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian. That’s a federal law,” said Leah Chavla, senior policy advisor for migrant rights and justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission, an international group advocating for the rights of refugee women, children and youth.

This article was also published in Spanish in the Chicago Tribune and the Orlando Sentinel.