Crime Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) introduced H.R. 5253, the UAC State Authority Act. The legislation would add language to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 to ensure that the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) notify a governor prior to the transfer of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) to their state. This bill would also provide for a 10-day period during which the governor of the state may submit to the Secretary an objection to the proposed transfer, giving governors a right-of-refusal. It expressly gives states the power to decide whether the federal government can establish housing facilities for UACs within their borders.  

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “While I recognize the severity and sensitivity of this crisis, we must secure the border and make a clear statement to those seeking citizenship in the United States: Illegal activity will not be rewarded. The administration should be transparent about its intentions.  States should be fully informed of HHS’s plans to house UACs within their communities, and governors should have the ability to prevent the federal government from establishing housing facilities in their state.”

June 19: Sensenbrenner Sends Letter to HHS Secretary Burwell on the Surge of UACs
July 10: Sensenbrenner Sends Letter to Obama on the Surge of UACs
July 16: President Barack Obama created the border crisis
July 22: Sensenbrenner Sends Follow-Up Letter to HHS Secretary on the Surge of UACs and Its Impact on Wisconsin
Note: Still awaiting a response from HHS Secretary Burwell.

Congressman Mike Turner (R-Ohio) is an original cosponsor of the UAC State Authority Act.

Congressman Turner:
“The ability of the federal government to hand-pick a city, county, or state as a UAC receiver site without first consulting the governor’s office disregards the real impact these decisions have on regional communities and significantly diminishes states’ rights. Governors must be the decision makers because the increased burden of housing these illegal immigrants ultimately falls to the states and extends across multiple agencies, communities, and jurisdictions."