FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – More than 100 abandoned children from Central America have been sheltered into Arkansas, leading to a disagreement over where they should go.
Senator Bart Hester sent a letter to Governor Beebe earlier this month, asking for answers on the topic of the placement of children.
He received a response from the governor shortly after.
“It was exactly what I was looking for.” Hester said. “There is 166 of these undocumented immigrants in Arkansas. They are not documented as refugees, they are undocumented immigrants.”
The letter was straight forward, also clarifying that the children were screened for diseases, and vaccinated before being placed by the federal government.
“We absolutely have a responsibility to know in the state of Arkansas,” Hester said.
Hester says this response from the governor is just the start of the conversation, saying he has more questions to ask.
“Did the governor have notice that these kids were coming to Arkansas? Did he have the option to say yes, or no? Does the legislator have the option to say yes, or no?” Hester said.
According to Matt DeCample, spokesman for Governor Beebe, the answers are no.
According to the governor’s office, the governor did not know about the placements prior. They also say he couldn`t prevent the placements, nor could the legislators.
Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan says his city should help these kids.
“The most important thing is to see what we can do to help the children,” Jordan said. “You have to do it right, you have to do it correct.”
Jordan says they are surveying the safest, yet legal, way to help these kids.
“What we are looking to do is to try and help the children that are immigrant children, trying to give them support, trying to give them help,” Jordan said. “Our city has always been very open, and very compassionate, with people.”
Jordan says local religious institutions in the community have offered to help the kids.
However, Hester says it is important for the state to have a say on the placement of these children.
“I’m not necessarily wanting to send these children home, I`m wanting a game plan for the future,” Hester said.