Cuomo Says Estimated Number Of Separated Immigrant Children In New York Grows

Jun 21, 2018

New York Governor Cuomo says there are as many as 700 immigrant children in child care services in New York State, and he’s demanding that state health care professionals have access to them, saying under New York’s Constitution, the state is responsible for their welfare.

Cuomo says the estimated number of children is growing as the state contacts foster care agencies in the state. He says the federal Department of Health and Human Services has a gag order on information about the children. But he says the agencies are also certified by the state and need to answer to New York officials.

And Cuomo says the President’s executive order has not stopped the family separations.

“The children arrived last night, the children arrived this morning, nothing has changed that will stop that from happening,” Cuomo said. “I’m saying, in the interim as we’re going through this federal fiasco, let’s get the children the help they need.” 

The governor says he’s “exploring legal options” to press the agencies to allow access to the children, and potentially help reunite them with their parents. He’s written a letter to the federal government, but has received no answer.

Meanwhile, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy says at least two children who were taken from their parents at the southern border are coming to the state.  

Malloy says it’s not clear if the children are being placed with relatives or at a shelter.

“Those children should be reunited with their parents instantly. Of course this is made more difficult by the cruel and unusual punishment meted out by our President, where parents would be sent to one state and children would be sent to another, making visitation for instance, impossible.”

Malloy was speaking at a bill signing on Wednesday. He says the state child welfare agency has a role to play once the children arrive, but the federal government is primarily responsible.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services is bringing the migrant children to Connecticut through a private contractor.

More than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the border since the Trump administration enacted a zero-tolerance policy on immigration in May.