Officials in Tennessee are upset with the Biden administration for reportedly bringing in unaccompanied migrant children on planes, in the middle of the night, without their knowledge or consent. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) told Fox News in a statement that the transportation of these underaged migrants is happening in “the dead of night without the knowledge or permission of the communities involved.” Why all the secrecy? Is it, perchance, a way to relieve the strain at the border while making it look like fewer children are being held in detention centers?
WRCB-TV Channel 3 reports: “The White House is transporting migrants into an airport in Chattanooga from where they are bused to cities within the Southeast.” The television station said it obtained several videos to document this claim. In one, a plane arrived on Friday, May 14, just before 1:30 a.m. The second video showed children arriving earlier that day as well as late the next night, and a fourth plane arrived early morning on May 19. The children appeared to be in their early teens, and each carried a matching bag. They were observed boarding busses after departing the planes.
A Coast-to-Coast employee told Channel 3 that the “buses were dispatched to Chattanooga as part of a contract with the United States Department of Defense.” She verified that two of the buses from the video left Chattanooga for Miami, Florida, and Dallas, Texas. According to the employee, the children had to have chaperones because they were under the age of 18. An anonymous source told the news station:
“approximately 30 to 50 minors are transported at a time, some to reunite with family members and others to go to group homes … the operation started in Dallas, Texas, but moved to small airports recently to avoid attention.”
“Every Town is Now a Border Town”
It is not clear where the children are being relocated to in the state, but in April, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirmed that a group of unaccompanied minors were being housed in a former Tennessee Temple dormitory. According to one report, multiple sources claimed to have seen at least ten boys taken to the facility in the past few days.
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) told Fox News that his residents deserved answers from the administration:
“I have warned for months that President Biden’s failure at the border would result in a systematic resettling of migrants in our communities, burdening our schools, hospitals, and law enforcement agencies, and bringing an increase in drug trafficking and human smuggling. A new reality is happening in our country. Every town is now a border town.”
Governor Bill Lee said he declined the request from the Biden administration to house unaccompanied immigrant minors weeks before he found out they were being flown into his state. He told Channel 3 that he also “called on the administration to secure the border and stop scattering children across the country.” He added: “When we demanded answers, they cut off transparency and emboldened one of the worst human trafficking crises we’ve seen at our border in the last 20 years.”
Hagerty echoed that statement with: “It is time for President Biden to be transparent with Tennesseans and the American people regarding where the hundreds of thousands of migrants being resettled in the United States are being sent because they deserve to know.”
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told Fox News that encounters at the border have declined to about 1,830 people per day, but added that a “fairly high” number of migrant children were still crossing into the U.S. As of last week, there were more than 20,000 migrant minors in HHS custody.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.