An unconfirmed number of unaccompanied minors who entered the country illegally have apparently been housed in Prince William county for some time. A private youth services charity founded by former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs reports on its website that it has what is termed a “Cooperative Agreement” with the Office of Refugee Resettlement of the federal Department of Health and Human Services to provide services to the children.
The charity, Youth for Tomorrow (“YFT”), provides much needed services to needy children without regard to immigration status. Most of the American children they serve have lived in utter squalor or otherwise been subjected to inhumane or dangerous conditions prior to being placed in one of the group’s apparently eight residential facilities throughout Prince William.
Given the outcry on this topic elsewhere in Virginia and across the country, the fact that some of these children have already been relocated to Prince William is news by itself. But bloggers closely familiar with the relevant players in Prince William have raised a number of additional questions that need to be promptly addressed by county, state, and federal leaders.
Greg Letiecq at BVBL, renowned/infamous (depending on your viewpoint) for his activism on illegal immigration, broke the story Friday, and was followed by The Sheriff of Nottingham, a puckish and sometimes satirical blog dedicated primarily to the “inside baseball” of Prince William county politics. Virginia Virtucon’s Jim Riley added thoughts, and the site published a detailed first hand account of an unnamed source in a position to know certain details of the program.
The first key question here is how such a program could escape public scrutiny. YFT is blameless; they take care of kids who need it, and clearly never tried to hide that fact. Each of the bloggers at the sites linked above have concluded that the Prince William Board of Supervisors either did know about it or should have known about it, and that at a minimum BoS Chairman Corey Stewart did know.
Stewart has made combating illegal immigration a centerpiece of his political persona, and in recent days has complained loudly about the fact that the federal government won’t release any information on the more that 7,000 criminal illegal aliens convicted in Prince William County and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
He said the Obama administration at the top levels “has refused to release the whereabouts of these individuals, and we know that essentially they are just releasing them.” Stewart said the Obama administration will not even confirm whether they’ve “deported child predators, sex offenders, rapists, very serious criminals, that we are finding popping up in our community.”
“We know that because we have re-apprehended 10% of them for subsequent crimes. So you know that the actual number is much larger,” he said.
The Prince William bloggers appear to believe it is hypocritical for Stewart to not shed light on the YFT program, or to have even helped facilitate it. They have suggested it has something to do with Stewart having received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from YFT board members. We think it’s unfair to assume that Stewart can’t be tough on illegal immigrant criminals while still allowing for care and protection of vulnerable children. But we agree wholeheartedly that Prince William county residents are entitled to a public discussion of the issue.
Further, Virtucon’s source reports details suggesting that not only Prince William residents, but taxpayers across the country, are entitled to understand the arrangement with the feds at the Office of Refugee Resettlement here and elsewhere, given the claim by this source that Medicaid is being used to provide medical care for the “refugees.” Medicaid, which is the fastest growing portion of the Virginia budget, is a program funded 50% by the federal government with the states picking up the balance. We believe taxpayers are entitled to a full accounting of what the current crisis—a problem of the Obama administration’s own making—is costing and why.
In discussing this issue we need to be careful to remember that the children at the center of this scandal must be treated with decency and compassion. Current law, which neither the president nor Mark Warner are acting to change, prevents immediate repatriation of the children swamping the southern border. Because of that, the federal government has the responsibility to feed, house, and ensure medical care for these kids until after an immigration judge considers each one’s case. But the government at every level also has the responsibility to be open and transparent about what’s happening, how we got to this place, and how it is going to be fixed.
We deserve answers. Something tells me we’re only scratching the surface here.