HHS explains flights to Westchester carrying undocumented children from border

A Health and Human Services representative says the children are being reunited with relatives and legal sponsors throughout the U.S.

News 12 Staff

Aug 17, 2021, 10:36 AM

Updated 1,061 days ago

Share:

More details are emerging about the so-called "mystery flights" carrying undocumented children from the southern border to Westchester in the middle of the night.
In response to a News 12 inquiry, a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said in a statement, “It is our legal responsibility to safely care for unaccompanied children until they can be swiftly unified with a parent or a vetted sponsor. As part of the unification process, our Office of Refugee Resettlement facilitates travel for the children in its custody to their family or sponsors across the country. Over the last week, unaccompanied children passed through the Westchester airport en route to their final destination to be unified with their parents or vetted sponsor.”
A Biden administration official says these flights are legal and are part of the immigration plan of reuniting undocumented immigrant families after former President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" policy separated families to dissuade people from entering the country illegally.
Republican state Assemblyman Colin Schmitt has concerns about passengers allegedly arriving "in secret" in the middle of the night.
"Quite frankly, these individuals should not have ever been brought to Westchester County Airport," says Schmitt. "No county or local officials, law enforcement or health agencies were notified."
Westchester County Executive George Latimer says the minors were reunited with family in New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut and that they were tested for coronavirus. "All I know is that we're not the only airport going through this. There are a lot of places around the country," said Latimer. Latimer says he has a list of questions that he is hoping to get answered by HHS and will be updating the public when he gets his questions answered.
The flights don't surprise Luis Yumbla, a Port Chester Immigrant Defense board member. The organization reconnects these families. He also says they've been happening for months. "Lately, it's happening more because more people are crossing the border and more people are in the shelters…They're put in groups, and they go on a DHS flight, go to the closest airports where the families are located."


More from News 12
2:00
Former President Trump safe, doing OK after gunfire at rally

Former President Trump safe, doing OK after gunfire at rally

2:01
Sunny, hot and humid Sunday in the Hudson Valley

Sunny, hot and humid Sunday in the Hudson Valley

2:38
Security heighted at Trump Tower in aftermath of rally shooting

Security heighted at Trump Tower in aftermath of rally shooting

1:29
Expert: Security will be a high level concern at presidential events in wake of Trump rally shooting

Expert: Security will be a high level concern at presidential events in wake of Trump rally shooting

1:39
Political analyst: Shooting at Trump rally will bring changes to 2024 Presidential Election

Political analyst: Shooting at Trump rally will bring changes to 2024 Presidential Election

0:24
New Rochelle PD: 1 dead in fiery car crash at Golden Horseshoe Shopping Center

New Rochelle PD: 1 dead in fiery car crash at Golden Horseshoe Shopping Center

1:54
Overnight fire closes Delite Bake Shop in Yonkers

Overnight fire closes Delite Bake Shop in Yonkers

2:23
‘New York’s backyard jam.’ Music lovers flock to Pleasantville Music Festival

‘New York’s backyard jam.’ Music lovers flock to Pleasantville Music Festival

1:55
NYPD: 3-year-old fatally struck in Harlem was from New Rochelle

NYPD: 3-year-old fatally struck in Harlem was from New Rochelle

0:30
Wake services held for Port Chester police officer killed in an off-duty motorbike crash

Wake services held for Port Chester police officer killed in an off-duty motorbike crash

0:25
Police: Newburgh man faces prison time for menacing Maybrook residents with gun

Police: Newburgh man faces prison time for menacing Maybrook residents with gun

0:35
NY Office of Cannabis Management issues recall for ‘Sky High’ brand marijuana products

NY Office of Cannabis Management issues recall for ‘Sky High’ brand marijuana products

1:49
2 'underperforming' Stop & Shop stores in Hudson Valley set to close

2 'underperforming' Stop & Shop stores in Hudson Valley set to close

0:34
Testimony ends in Westchester nonprofit's lawsuit filed against Lyft over wheelchair access

Testimony ends in Westchester nonprofit's lawsuit filed against Lyft over wheelchair access

0:57
Nearly $5 million to go toward clean water efforts, police departments in Westchester

Nearly $5 million to go toward clean water efforts, police departments in Westchester

2:10
How to spot scams, fake listings on Amazon Prime Day 2024

How to spot scams, fake listings on Amazon Prime Day 2024

0:26
Police: Bronx man charged in Carmel domestic disturbance

Police: Bronx man charged in Carmel domestic disturbance

1:40
Lawmakers try to force action from state as more beaches close due to bacteria levels

Lawmakers try to force action from state as more beaches close due to bacteria levels

1:03
‘Like a bee colony.’ Crews work to finish preparations for Pleasantville Music Festival

‘Like a bee colony.’ Crews work to finish preparations for Pleasantville Music Festival

1:32
Owners of decades-old restaurant in Rockland County explain reasons for closure

Owners of decades-old restaurant in Rockland County explain reasons for closure