Jun 10, 2021 - News

Gov. Reynolds: Feds flew migrant children to Des Moines without notifying Iowa

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during a hearing.

Gov. Kim Reynolds during an American Workforce Policy Advisory Board Meeting at the White House last year. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images.

Unaccompanied migrant children were transported to Iowa and Tennessee this spring without any notice from federal agencies, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday in a call for transparency.

  • Reynolds and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee also claim that federal officials initially denied their involvement.

Why it matters: Now the two Republican governors — who both denied the Biden administration's requests to house migrant children in their states — are calling on Congress to investigate the incidents.

What she's saying: Reynolds says 19 kids arrived in DSM via an April 22 overnight flight, and state officials only became aware of the matter more than a week after their arrival.

  • At least three federal agencies told Iowa in early May that the flight was not coordinated by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) or its Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also told state officials it wasn't an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) flight.
  • But on May 21, HHS confirmed to Sen. Chuck Grassley's office that ORR coordinated the flight to reunite the children with their sponsors.

HHS and ORR didn't immediately respond to our requests for comment.

What they're saying:

"These experiences sow seeds of mistrust in our communities, and work to intentionally subvert the will of the people for a secure border and a clear, lawful immigration process."
Reynolds and Lee wrote to Grassley today, asking for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing

Of note: A Tennessee news station reported a similar arrival in Chattanooga last month.

💭 Our thought bubble: Transparency and accountability are essential to good governance on all levels.

  • A call to investigate alleged lies or miscommunication by multiple federal agencies is reasonable regardless of political beliefs or affiliations.

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