The Department of Health and Human Services has brought nearly 430 unaccompanied alien children (UAC) to Chicago, and placed them under the care of Heartland Alliance, according to a release from Senator Mark Kirk (R., Ill.). Heartland Alliance, describes itself as “the leading anti-poverty organization in the Midwest” on its website and is an HHS grantee. The kids are being held at multiple locations in the Chicagoland area, a staffer in Kirk’s office tells National Review Online.
An additional 319 alien children have been placed with family members or sponsors in Illinois as of June 17, 2014, according to another release. Kirk has expressed concerns about whether the UACs had criminal backgrounds, but said the State Department was unable to provide information about the matter. “If any of these individuals has a criminal record in their home country, our government owes it to the American people to facilitate a sharing of records and reassure our nation that these individuals pose no threat,” Kirk said in the release. In order to better determine whether or not the minors had criminal histories before illegally entering the United States, Kirk sent a letter to U.S. ambassadors in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras requesting information about whether the embassies have done background checks on the UACs.