When protests began across South Carolina in response to the thousands of migrants that have flooded the U.S.-Mexico border, state officials said there was nothing to worry about. They had been assured by the federal government that while those immigrants may be an issue for other states, no one had been relocated to South Carolina.
That turned out not to be true. At least 350 children have been relocated to the Palmetto State - and both state and congressional leaders say they were kept in the dark.
As the Post and Courier's Cynthia Roldan reported, congressional leaders asked the Obama administration in a letter to explain why they and local officials weren't informed.
"We are troubled that this data is just coming to light and was not provided to Congress or our delegation in a timely and regular fashion," read the letter, which was signed by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, and Reps. Joe Wilson, Mark Sanford, Jeff Duncan, Trey Gowdy, Mick Mulvaney and Tom Rice.
"What's frustrating is how little we still know," Mulvaney said Tuesday. "We don't know where these kids are going. We don't know to whom they're going and the potential for abuse there is outrageous. It's a failure at many, many levels by the administration."
The letter asks if any additional children are being housed in the state, and asks for a 14-day prior notification before housing any undocumented children at a military installation or HHS-contracted shelter in South Carolina.
Gov. Nikki Haley has expressed similar frustration. The governor said she was told no one had been relocated in the state. Later though, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said that federal law prevented him from speaking about individual placements.
Questions remain: It is unclear how the children are arriving in South Carolina, whether sponsors are physically picking them up or if they are being transported individually to the state. The governor's office confirmed that the federal government has no plans for housing undocumented adults in South Carolina.
Palmetto Politics Clicks
Advocacy group calls on Attorney General Wilson to drop defense of gay marriage ban (P&C)
Compromise reached on evolution standards (P&C)
Haley, Atlantic Beach officials disagree over Bikefest (AP)
Longshot Senate candidates want lots of debates (ABC)
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