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Kirk Requests Criminal Background Checks for Unaccompanied Minors

429 Minors from Mexican Border Now in Illinois in HHS Custody

Thursday, Jul 10, 2014

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today sent letters to the U.S. Ambassadors to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador asking whether or not their Embassies have performed criminal background checks on the unaccompanied alien children (UAC) who have entered the United States. 

Since October, more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors have been caught crossing the border through Mexico from Central American countries.  

"I just learned that 429 unaccompanied minors from the Mexican border crisis are now in Chicago and currently in Health and Human Services custody, but our State Department is unable to confirm if any of these individuals has a criminal record or background," Senator Kirk said. "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."

A copy of the letter(s) is below: 

July 10, 2014

The Honorable Mari Carmen Aponte 
Embajada de Los Estados Unidos 
Final Boulevard Santa Elena 
Antiguo Cuscatlán, La Libertad

The Honorable Lisa Kubiske 
Embajada de los Estados Unidos
Avenida La Paz
Apartado Postal No. 3453
Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Charisse Phillips
Chargé d’Affaires
Embajada de los Estados Unidos de America
Avenida Reforma 7-01, Zona 10
Guatemala Giudad, Guatemala 

Dear (Ms. Phillips):

As a member on the Senate Appropriations Committee and the subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, I respectfully request that you provide information on whether your Embassy has performed any criminal background checks on the unaccompanied alien children (UAC) who are entering the United States in record numbers from (Guatemala).  The recent surge of UAC’s crossing the United States’ southern border is a humanitarian crisis, which also has the potential to present a serious threat to our country and communities should they have criminal records in their home country. While many of these children travel to the United States to escape dangerous and violent situations, I am concerned that among those admitted into the country and transferred to Health and Human Services (HHS) are individuals guilty of crimes in their home country. 

Further, in the case thatbackground checks are not currently being conducted, I urge you to establish an agreement with the government of Guatemala and local law enforcement to facilitate in the sharing of criminal records pertaining to those illegally crossing our borders.

I look forward to your response and working with you on this important issue.

Sincerely,

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