I have been working to gather more information from State and Federal sources since before word broke last week that the Youth for Tomorrow (YFT) facility right outside my district, in Bristow, VA, might be housing Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) and the possibility of more being relocated to the National Guard Armory at the Prince William Fairgrounds. I have confirmed that there have been UAC being housed at the YFT facility for approximately a year and that there are contracts for more to be brought there. I have not obtained any information that would indicate that more UAC will be brought to the Armory.
I have been informed that no direct state funds are being used to house or care for these UAC but Medicaid funds are used for the clinics seeing these kids in Prince William County and YFT is receiving your Federal tax dollars to house and care for these children. Not to mention that over half of the beds at YFT that should be set aside for troubled teens from Northern Virginia are now being used by UAC.
I have very serious concerns about the lack of transparency by the Federal and State government in this situation. Local officials should have been notified that UAC were being relocated to YFT and there have been conflicting reports as to whether or not this was done. I will be continuing to look into what particular tax resources are being used to care for these children and to look into what is being done to stem potential health concerns such as the possibility of communicable diseases being transmitted by these UAC from the camps along the border.
Additionally, in order to try to help with this crisis, today I sent a letter to Governor McAuliffe (see below) asking him to identify Virginia citizens such as former or substitute judges who could be appointed to assist the overwhelmed Federal Immigration hearing officers dealing with the massive influx of illegal immigrants coming through the Southern border.
The President has said that all of the Unaccompanied Alien Children and other illegal immigrants coming over the Southern border will be deported. Unfortunately, the Immigration system is overwhelmed. Because all illegal aliens coming into the U.S. from countries other than Mexico and Canada are required to have an administrative hearing prior to deportation proceedings it is imperative that we get a system in place to assist the Federal Government with these hearings so we don't end up with a de facto legal status for these individuals simply due to delays. I'm asking that Governor McAuliffe identify former/substitute judges, magistrates and qualified attorneys to act as administrative law judges or immigration adjudicators to assist in the hearings for any UACs or other illegal immigrants relocated to Virginia from the camps near the Southern border. I am hopeful that timely processing of these cases will be a deterrent for others considering violating our immigration laws.
Please contact Governor McAuliffe and ask him to take this step and any others that would assist in the processing of these cases in a timely manner. You can contact him at 804-786-2211 or through his website.
Thank you for your help!