Washington, D.C.—This week, in response to the escalating border crisis, Congressman Michael Turner (R-OH) partnered with Crime Subcommittee Chairman and former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), to introduce the UAC State Authority Act.

This legislation would give states the right to reject federal government proposals to establish housing facilities for unaccompanied alien children (UAC) within their borders.

The bill requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to notify a state governor prior to any transfer of UACs to his or her state.

“The ability of the federal government to hand-pick a city, county, or state as a UAC receiver site without first consulting the governor’s office disregards the real impact these decisions have on regional communities and significantly diminishes states’ rights,” said Turner.

Following this notification, HHS would be compelled to provide the states with a 90-day review period, allowing for open comment and input from key law enforcement, community, and regional stakeholders.

At the end of the 90 days, the governor would then have a 10-day right-of-refusal period during which he or she could submit an objection to the proposed transfer to the Secretary of HHS. If a governor does object, then the Secretary is prohibited from implementing the proposed relocation.  

“As a law enforcement official, I am very thankful that Congressman Turner has taken action," said Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer.

“This legislation would allow the governor to make the decision and end local mayors unilaterally welcoming the federal government to place unaccompanied alien children within the state.” said Turner. “Governors must be the decision makers because the increased burden of housing these illegal immigrants ultimately falls to the states and extends across multiple agencies, communities, and jurisdictions."

It has been widely reported that governors throughout the country have expressed frustration with the federal government’s unilateral placement of UACs in their states.

For example, Gov. Paul Le Page of Maine stated that it is "wrong for the federal government to force a higher burden on the people of Maine to pay for those who come to our country illegally, especially when the government secretly places illegal aliens in our state without our knowledge,” following reports that eight children were placed in his state without his knowledge.

Moreover, Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma has expressed that “many of our public schools are already at capacity and need additional funding,” Fallin said. "Our health-care system is strained as it is. Now, instead of allowing us to address those needs for Oklahomans, President Obama is forcing us to add an unspecified number of illegal immigrants to our public education and public health systems.”

“The UAC State Authority Act would give all governors the opportunity to advocate on behalf of their states and to ensure that an unsustainable burden isn’t placed on local law enforcement, education, healthcare, or housing,” said Turner.

“As a law enforcement official, I am very thankful that Congressman Turner has taken action," said Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer

"This legislation would prevent mayors from unilaterally offering to house illegal immigrants in our communities.

We must protect the resources we have and use them to keep the citizens of our Dayton community safe," said Plummer.
Congressman Turner is an original co-sponsor of the legislation.