Pa. Congressman visits U.S./Mexico border, calls it humanitarian crisis

This Week in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — It is being called a humanitarian crisis on the southern border and the impact is now being felt in Pennsylvania. Republican Congressman Fred Keller is on the House Oversight Committee and wanted to oversee what was happening, so he traveled to the border.

As a planeload of unaccompanied minors flew to Erie, Pennsylvania. Keller was on the southern border in Texas and New Mexico.

“You’ve got to see it for yourself,” Keller told abc27 News. And what Fred Keller says he saw was an unfinished wall. A record surge of humans.

“They have to be fearful of their life when they’re out taking care of their cattle,” Keller said.

And fearful ranchers.

“He said they’re teaching their children how to use firearms for protection on their ranches in the United States of America on their own property,” Keller said.

Immigration policy has been a problem for presidents of both parties for decades. Congress has failed to fix it. But this Pro-Trump Congressman is pointing political fingers.

“There wasn’t this surge at the border in December was there? There wasn’t this surge at the border at the beginning of January, there’s a surge at the border after Jan. 20,” Keller said.

Specifically, Keller says, halting the wall and tossing a policy that kept asylum seekers in Mexico while their cases moved through American courts have been bad moves by Biden.

“If President Biden does something to fix this and does it right I’ll give him credit for it, but what has happened is he has not, he has dismantled stuff without a plan. What’s his plan?” Keller asked.

What’s a rural Pa. Congressman doing on the southern border, many may wonder? Keller counters this is an American problem and those kids now in Erie are proof that Pennsylvania is feeling the impact.

“If they require medical attention [they’re] going to hospitals in the commonwealth, if the kids need education, they’ll be going to schools in the commonwealth — so this does affect the entire nation,” Keller said.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the agency is working diligently with interagency partners to ensure that unaccompanied children are brought together with family or suitable sponsors as quickly as possible.

As of April 12, over 18,000 children are in the care of the ORR.

On Tuesday, April 13, the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement opened an intake site for the migrant children at the Pa. International Academy in Erie, Pa.

Children age 17 and under who are unaccompanied by parents or other legal guardians and who have no lawful immigration status in the United States (unaccompanied children) and who are apprehended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are transferred to the care and custody of the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). ORR is legally required to provide for the care and custody of all unaccompanied children (UC) referred to ORR until they are unified with an appropriate sponsor, usually a parent or relative, while their immigration cases proceed.  

The U.S. Department of Health Human Services

The White House did not respond to an email seeking comment but it did say earlier this week that it’s working with Central American countries to keep folks from getting to the U.S. border.

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