HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey pressed the Trump administration Tuesday for information about immigrant children being held in the state, separated from their families at the border after entering the country illegally.
In a letter sent to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Wolf and Casey, both Democrats, asked for answers on how many unaccompanied immigrant children are being held in Pennsylvania, where precisely they are living and what plans there are to reunite them with their parents.
The state, they wrote, is legally required to inspect facilities that house the children and they want to ensure that immigrant children detained in Pennsylvania without their families are receiving the care required under state law.
Wolf’s administration said it asked the questions once already, on June 26, to the acting regional administrator for the department’s Administration for Children and Families.
Casey’s office said the Trump administration told senators that approximately 24 migrant children were being held in Pennsylvania, as of June 26.
In addition, Wolf and Casey asked in the Tuesday letter whether the Health and Human Services Department knows precisely where the children’s parents or guardians are, which facilities are holding the children and how the department is safeguarding their well-being.
Wolf and Casey say they oppose the practice of detaining families of asylum-seekers and separating migrant children from their parents.
The department did not immediately respond to a request for answers Tuesday.
Casey signed a separate letter Monday to Azar and Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen with 10 other Democratic senators asking for details about efforts to reunify migrant parents and children who were being held separately.
Casey and Wolf did not invite Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley, to join their letter. Toomey’s office said he considers the welfare of the children to be critically important and supports legislation that enforces the law and keeps families together while their immigration cases are being resolved.