(DAILY NEWS) Kenneth Lovett, June 22, 2018 — Gov. Cuomo revealed Thursday the state may be housing as many as 700 children who were taken from their parents on the southern border as part of President Trump’s zero tolerance immigration policy.
That would make up roughly a third of the more than 2,000 who was separated from their families.
Cuomo said he believes a large percentage of kids were sent up north to New York because the feds are scrambling to place them, and the state has one of the largest network of foster care agencies in the country.
And despite a Wednesday executive order that Trump said is designed to keep families together if they are detained, Cuomo predicted the number of kids separated from their parents being sent to New York will continue to grow. More arrived overnight Wednesday and Thursday morning, he said.
Frustrated by the lack of cooperation by the feds, Cuomo said he called and sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar demanding the agency provide information and access to the children so the state can provide needed services.
He said he has not heard back.
In his letter sent Thursday, Cuomo asked the feds for the specific number of children that have been sent to New York, where they are being housed, and whether any have been discharged from federal custody to the state foster care system or to family members in the community.
“New York State certifies residential facilities, and we have an obligation to ensure that appropriate services are being provided,” Cuomo wrote. “The information that I am requesting is essential to the proper discharge of our responsibilities to those who are within our borders.”
Without any federal response, Cuomo said his administration has taken to getting “piecemeal information” by calling the dozens of state-licensed foster care agencies who have federal contracts to try to get an estimate on the number of kids have been relocated to New York.
“The agencies are being put in this difficult position because they’re under a federal gag order, but they’re state-certified and regulated,” Cuomo told reporters. “Why are we being forced to go through these legal manipulations and pressure local agencies? Why wouldn’t the federal government just tell us?”