The White House won’t reveal where it is housing thousands of Central American juvenile migrants because their privacy rights trump Americans’ right to know what‘s happening in their neighborhoods, press secretary Josh Earnest declared July 16.
“The public does have a right to know what’s happening… [but] at the same time, there are privacy rights that are included in the law that this administration is committed to enforcing and following,” Earnest told Ed Henry, Fox News’ White House correspondent.
“We are not surprised in the least to see the Obama administration imitate the smugglers,” William Gheen, founder of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, told The Daily Caller. “This is how smuggling operations work, this is what the smuggler-in-chief wants — secret planes and secret buses full of illegal immigrants.”
GOP governors and legislators are also highlighting the administration’s secrecy. “They don’t want the public to know what is really going on,” Nebraska Republican Rep. Lee Terry told Fox News.
Terry has introduced a bill that would require federal disclosure of details about housing. However, Senate Democrats will likely block the bill if it is passed by the House.
For months, the federal government has hidden details about the inflow of migrants, such as the number of people arriving in “family units,” the number of migrants who have been allowed to seek residency via the immigration courts, and their education levels.
Officials have revealed that 57,000 Central American juvenile migrants have crossed the border since last October. Another 30,000 crossed in 2011 and 2012. Officials also expect up to 150,000 additional migrants to arrive in “family units.”
Many Americans want the immigrants sent home and few want the foreign juveniles living in their community. For example, Pew reported July 16 that 53 percent of respondents in a poll want the juvenile migrants quickly sent home. Only 39 percent of respondents said the current policy should be followed.
Communities in California, Massachusetts, Virginia and Maryland, for example, have already blocked administration plans to house juveniles in their neighborhoods.
Protests in Murrieta, Calif. successfully blocked a convoy of three buses carrying a group of migrant adults and their children.
This weekend, a series of protests are being arranged by several groups, including the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC.
So far, the groups’ volunteers have arranged 300 street protests, said Gheen. “It is going viral, and we’re trying to add more events as rapidly as possible,” he told TheDC.
When asked how many people will turn out, he responded “we have no idea.”
Most of the border-crossing juveniles are temporarily housed by the Department of Health and Human Services before they are released to parents or relatives living in the United States.
The juveniles — few of whom speak English, and some of whom speak only Indian languages — are entitled to federal medical care, and to attend local schools, regardless of their impact on American kids.
They migrants come from countries with very high crime rates, partly because many youths are members of drug gangs, such as MS-13.
Progressives are bitterly criticizing the immigration protests.
“In places like Murrieta, California and Vassar, Michigan, we have seen ugly reminders of racism and hatred directed toward children,” said a July 15 statement by Richard Trumka, the pro-immigration head of the AFL-CIO union group.
“The spewing of nativist venom, the taking up of arms and the fear-mongering about crime and disease harken back to dark periods in our history and have no business taking place under the banner of our flag,” said Trumka.
So far, progressives have not established groups of volunteers to house the migrants in their own homes.