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Cuomo Estimates 700 Separated Immigrant Children Are In NY

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Governor Andrew Cuomo says there are as many as 700 immigrant children in child care services in New York, and he’s demanding that state health care professionals have access to them, saying under New York’s constitution, the state is responsible for their welfare.

Cuomo says the estimated number of children is growing as the state contacts foster care agencies in the state. The Democrat says the federal Department of Health and Human Services has a gag order on information about the children. But he says the agencies are also certified by the state and need to answer to New York officials.

Cuomo says the president’s executive order has not stopped the family separations.

“The children arrived last night, the children arrived this morning, nothing has changed that will stop that from happening,” Cuomo said. “I’m saying, in the interim as we're going through this federal fiasco, let’s get the children the help they need.”

The governor says he’s “exploring legal options” to press the agencies to allow access to the children, and potentially help reunite them with their parents. He’s written a letter to the federal government, but has received no answer.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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