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The Biden administration has quietly signed a five-year contract to start leasing an abandoned school in Greensboro, North Carolina to house unaccompanied migrant children away from the southern border — a move that is causing backlash from Republican lawmakers who say the move contradicts prior claims by the administration.
Potentially thousands of migrant children will be detained at the American Hebrew Academy campus in Greensboro until they can be housed with either family members already living here in the U.S. or other sponsors, Fox News has learned.
Unaccompanied children are typically moved from Border Patrol custody to Health and Human Services (HHS) care when they are encountered at the southern border as they are moved through the country to be put into the care of sponsors.
HHS is believed to be hiring 800 workers to staff that facility and children are set to begin arriving as soon as July.
“It’s about the people, it’s about the children, it’s about jobs,” Skip Alston, a commissioner in Guildford County said. “It’s about doing the right thing for these children, these are innocent children. We shouldn’t put politics in the midst of this.”
The use of the campus, which is near a residential neighborhood, is leading to criticism from House Republicans. They are pointing to testimony last year from HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, who was asked by Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C. whether there was truth to reports that the administration was planning to house migrants in the state.
“There is no plan we have to shelter children in North Carolina,” Becerra said in response last May.
“The decision to now resettle UACs in Greensboro directly contradicts what you said previously and comes as a complete surprise to us and our constituencies,” the Republican congressional delegation said in a letter to Becerra.
“Due to the failures of the Biden administration to secure our southern border, every state, including North Carolina, is now suffering from the impacts of the Biden border crisis,” they say.
There were more than 14,000 unaccompanied minors encountered at the U.S. southern border in May alone. HHS did not respond to a request for a comment from Fox News.
That number is part of a broader 239,000 migrant encounters in May. Republicans have blamed the Biden administration’s policies — including narrowed interior enforcement and a rollback of Trump-era policies — for the surge. The administration has instead pointed to “root causes” in Central America like poverty, violence and climate change.