Deal: 1,154 unaccompanied immigrant children sent to Georgia

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal fired off a blistering letter to President Barack Obama Thursday, saying he was shocked to learn this week that federal authorities have transferred 1,154 unaccompanied immigrant children to the care of sponsors living in Georgia.

The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement placed them in Georgia during the first six months of this year, Deal wrote, as the Obama administration grappled with a surge of Central American children illegally crossing the southwest border.

Deal said his administration learned about the numbers of children coming to Georgia as they followed up on a conference call this week with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

“This came as a complete shock to me as the governor of this state,” Deal wrote. “I’m sure it will also shock the local communities around the state where these individuals currently reside.

“It is unconscionable that your administration failed to pick up the phone, email or send a letter to my office to inform us that these children were being sent to our communities,” he continued. “These are communities that must provide support to these children and families as they wait the appropriate adjudication of their immigration status.”

The White House and the Office of Refugee Resettlement — which is a part of Health and Human Services — did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday afternoon.

Deal wrote he has also heard from state lawmakers in parts of Georgia that there has been a “surge in school enrollment of children from Central America.” Deal did not identify the locations in his letter.

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