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Governor's plan for the border

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BATON ROUGE - Following an afternoon trip to the United States border with Mexico, Governor Bobby Jindal addressed the 1,071 unaccompanied minors that are being cared for in Louisiana.

"What doesn't make sense is to send the word out that if you get here illegally, you can stay without consequences," Jindal said during a press conference late Monday where he criticized President Obama's immigration policy. 

Immigrant children are coming across the border in the tens of thousands.  Last week, it was revealed just more than 1,000 were in Louisiana.  The notion sparked a political fire storm.  In all, some 50,000 kids have crossed the border into the U.S. illegally.

When they are stopped by federal agents, the children are sent to stay with family members or other sponsors who are already in the states.  While they are with them, they wait for a deportation hearing. 

Some of the so-called unaccompanied minors are staying in the Baton Rouge-area, sources told WBRZ.  But, the federal government cannot release exactly where the children are because of privacy issues.

Many of the unaccompanied minors are seeking refuge from violent countries. A large number of the immigrant children are from Honduras, which has been ripped apart by violence and gang wars.

"The more humane thing to do is to return the vast majority of these kids back to their families, back to their home countries," Jindal said when specifically asked about Honduran children.

The governor said the president also proposes sending the children back to their home country once they have been seen by a judge.

But the political issue on the border crisis is turning into a religious issue.

"We are looking at these individuals as literally the face of Christ," Robert Tasman said. Tasman is the executive director of the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Catholic Church is educating family members and sponsors on their rights and getting the unaccompanied minors into school while they are in the country.

"The Godly thing to do, facing the immediate crisis, is to somehow open your arms and let these people in," Tasman said.

Jindal commended Catholic Charities for its work but believes Louisiana is not a permanent home for the children.

The governor wants the president to secure the border to keep all illegal immigrants out.

"The problem is only going to get worse and worse. Today it's a thousand kids in Louisiana.  If we don't secure the border, how many more thousands of kids will end up in our state? That's why it's so important that we secure the border," Jindal said.

Jindal said on his tour of the border, he saw three groups of people try to illegally cross into Texas from Mexico.  He was joined by Col. Mike Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police and House Speaker Chuck Kleckley.


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