Durbin to tour Chicago border children shelter

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WASHINGTON — In the wake of complaints by Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., over border childrenin Chicago shelters,Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., on Monday will tour one of the sheltersrun under a contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to provide temporary housing for these children, many from Central America.

After visiting with the children, who crossed into the U.S. from Mexico along the southwest border, Durbin will hold a press conference atLoyola University Chicago,Centennial Forum at1125 W. Loyola Ave. Durbin wanted to visit a facility to see for himself who was there and the conditions under which they were living before speaking out.

From Durbin’s office: “Durbin will be joined at the news conference by an official from the National Immigrant Justice Center. Last week, Durbin participated in a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on President Obama’s $3.7 billion emergency spending request to deal with the growing border crisis.”

Kirk on Thursday started raising concerns about children under HHS care in Illinois: 429 in shelters and 319 in foster care.Kirk has not visited the Illinois shelters with the childrenis raising concerns about.On Thursday Kirk wrote letters to the U.S. ambassadors in El Salvador, Guatamala and Honduraswantingto know if the children had gone through a criminal background check. On Friday, he raised concerns that these kids might be victims of gang members who, Kirk alleged, have been recruiting within the child refugee ranks.

On Dec. 15, 2009, the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, Office of Refugee Resettlement, contracted with the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights at 208 S. La Salle to provide services to “unaccompanied alien children.”

The $8,284,080 grant runs through next September.

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