Haslam Letter to Feds Baffles Immigrant Advocates

Jul 29, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Immigrant advocates say they are baffled by a letter that Gov. Bill Haslam sent to President Barack Obama that says his administration should have been informed about the placement of 760 unaccompanied immigrant children in Tennessee.

Haslam said in the letter released Friday that the Department of Health and Human Services did not directly tell Tennessee officials that unaccompanied minors had been released into the custody of sponsors living in the state.

Instead, state officials learned of the minors through a posting on the department's website. Haslam said that practice was "unacceptable."

The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/1o9b71U ) reports immigrant and refugee advocates say unaccompanied minors routinely have been placed into Tennessee households with approved "sponsors" for years.

Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition spokesman Eben Cathey says they are usually placed with a family member.