Gov. Otter Didn't Know 8 Immigrant Children Have Been Sent To Idaho In Border Surge

Jul 24, 2014

Gov. Otter with First Lady Lori Otter at a recent Republican event at the Capitol.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

This post was updated at 10:00 a.m. July 25, 2014.

This week, Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter sent a letter to federal officials telling them not to send any of the unaccompanied young migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border to Idaho.

However, federal officials say they've already sent children from the border to Idaho.

A relatively small number of the unaccompanied immigrant children who have been flooding into the United States have been sent to Oregon, Washington state and Idaho over the past six months.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says 50 immigrant children were released to sponsors in Oregon, 211 in Washington state, and 8 in Idaho between January 1 and July 7. Sponsors can include relatives, family friends, or foster parents.

Gov. Otter's spokesman Jon Hanian responded to the report by saying the Department of Health and Human Services has not provided the administration with any information about the placement of migrant children in Idaho.

"Nor did it go through any of the established channels to inform the Governor’s Office that this was happening," Hanian wrote in an email to Boise State Public Radio.

"We are working now to determine the veracity of this report. Should it prove to be true, it underscores the importance of the letter the Governor released yesterday putting the federal government on notice, that Idaho will not be used as a staging area or a destination for the crisis the federal government has created," Hanian writes. "Just as troubling is the fact that they are ignoring states and the impacts associated with placing these undocumented migrants without the knowledge or consent of state governments."

Prior to January, Oregon also received unaccompanied children into a Portland-based foster care program.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said the state welcomes the children, who "do not deserve to become political fodder."

More than 57,000 minors, mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, have crossed into the U.S. since October.