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Rick Scott admin to Obama's: tell FL more about unaccompanied immigrant kids

A letter from Gov. Rick Scott's administration:

                                                                                                         July 18, 2014

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary                                                               Craig Fugate, Administrator
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services                                           Federal Emergency Management Agency
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.                                                               U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20201                                                                             500 C Street SW Washington, DC 20472

Secretary Burwell and Administrator Fugate:

The Florida Department of Health has received unconfirmed reports that the federal government is bringing unaccompanied minors from the border to Florida today. On July 17, we received unconfirmed information that dozens of children were being brought by plane into Miami on Friday. This same day, ABC news reported that "the federal government is so overwhelmed by the current tide of migrants crossing the border it cannot provide basic medical screening to all of these children before transporting them, often by air, to longer-term holding facilities across the country.” (Feds Struggling to Cope with Medical 'Breakdown' at the Border, ABC News, July 17, 2014.)

Specifically, ABC News reported that your Health and Human Services Department's Director of Refugee Health said you, "identified a breakdown of the medical screening processes.” This breakdown was described in the news report as "a systemic failure of the handoff of these children between Customs Border Protection (CBP) and Health and Human Services (HHS).”

If these reports are accurate, this "systemic failure” in the federal system is extremely worrisome. In order to fulfill my duties as Florida's State Surgeon General, I am asking you to immediately provide the below information. This information is urgently needed to guard the health and safety of Florida communities across our state and is vital to the well-being of those children from the border who may have come through the flawed federal system.

• Will you notify the Florida Department of Health immediately of any current or future unaccompanied minors coming to, or placed in, Florida, including their current location?
• Are you conducting health screenings both at the border and again at the time the children are placed in shelters?
• What medical services, if any, were provided to any children placed in Florida?
• Do you have any records of infectious diseases associated with the children currently in federal care in Florida?
• Have any of the children been hospitalized in Florida with fevers accompanying their illnesses? If so, where are they being treated?

Because of the urgency of this request, this letter is being immediately emailed and faxed to you. I expect a prompt response to my request for information on existing unaccompanied minors in Florida and would like to stress the importance of future timely communications.


John H. Armstrong, MD, FACS
State Surgeon General and Secretary
Florida Department of Health


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Since we are not a sanctuary state, can't we just arrest them as they get off the plane?

ed jenkins

The citizens are thankful for this scott that he is looking out for citizens who want the removal from this country of these disease carrying illegal aliens as is the law.

Michael McDaniel

I think it would behoove us to tell the Governor to KOAes!
Don't reelect this horrible human being!


What in the name of all that people "profess" to be holy are certain segments of the American people doing?? WE ALL are former "immigrants". For these people, who proudly proclaim to be the most devout 'Christians on earth" and state "their" religious ideology is the ONLY way to be "saved", they are most definitely NOT living their oft-repeated words. These are CHILDREN, folks-not animals, NOT criminals, NOT drug runners, NOT diseased, NOT ANY of the various epithets hurled by these oh- so- good -to -their- fellow- man hypocrites. Our representatives in Congress are right in the thick of this mess-they, too, have shed any veneer of civilized behavior.
Lest any of you screaming former immigrants forget, these children are now trying to find a measure of safety in THIS country because the United States fomented and caused, by myriad interventions and meddling, the rampant violence in their home countries. The LAW that states this country MUST ACCEPT ALL CHILDREN from countries other than Mexico and that these children are subject to specific immigration procedures PRIOR to deportation was written and signed by George Bush. Although introduced as a measure to try to stem the tide of human trafficking and in the guise of religious liberty,unless and until this law-no matter how one feels-is repealed and/or amended, there is no legal way to deport these children back to the countries from which they fled-trying to save their lives.The LAW states as such-they must be allowed to stay and jump through the increasingly torturous hoops of the broken immigration bureaucracy.
What is wrong with so many Americans that they have, en masses, forgotten all innate human decency? When I watch Americans brandishing weapons, threatening busloads of screaming, frightened children, I am ashamed to call myself an American. These people are of the same ilk of those who, in the past, brandished pitchforks and tar and threw bricks at anyone who dared to invade "their" space-the very "space" these same people took by brutal force from the true natives of this country.
These children are not immigrants, folks. They are REFUGEES and this country's "leaders" and the idiots in Texas and Arizona (and elsewhere) should and MUST treat them as such. In my long life, I have not witnessed such overt hatred against other humans since the Jim Crow days. Every one of you who are calling for sending these children back to the hell they left should be heartily ashamed of yourselves. In the military and State Dept., such action is euphemistically called "rendition"-the results of which will occur to those sent back are known-usually torture and murder. For the Fl.State Surgeon General to actually write and send such a letter does nothing more than whip up the frenzy of those, who like the lunatic Louis Gohmert,falsely claim these children are "disease and lice-ridden carriers of such horrors as Ebola , AIDS,Dengue fever, etc. What absolute stupidity! I expected such from Gohmert-I NEVER thought that even the Republican-appointed Surgeon General- a PHYSICIAN-in Florida would jump on that crazy bandwagon of baseless suppositions and fantastical lies.
I'll bet those of you brave adults, proudly holding your weapons at the ready ,who are blocking the roads in breathless anticipation of the busses carrying these children, many of them infants,faithfully attend your houses of worship every week and thank "your god" for all your riches and safety. What hubristic hypocrites you all are! You disgust most of the people in other countries-you certainly disgust me. America is no longer the "home of the Brave"- America is the land of the Bully. Time to let Lady Liberty sink to the depths of the harbor-Americans certainly abide by or believe in such an antiquated notion-except for themselves.


I find it telling that Scott's response to "unconfirmed reports" is not to first confirm whether they are true or not, but to have the FL SG write a letter asking very specific, pointed questions clearly designed to inflame, enrage, and scare Floridians.

And then, to make sure that letter gets publicized.

But its not like that's the first questionable thing he's ever done. For example, he non-answers the question of whether he believes any climate change is due to human activities and says he's not a scientist - and then he won't listen to scientists.

He champions 'drug test the poor' laws which are a huge waste of state money and then he won't listen to the judges when they tell him its also unconstitutional and wastes money on appeals.

He won't listen to the majority of Floridians who are OK with a wider application of medical marijuana than the lame bill he hustled through the last legislative session and signed into law, or who are OK with same-sex marriages being recognized by the state.

I could go on and on with this theme in a post to rival palmettoexile's, but I won't (BTW palm, I applaud you!).

I'd vote for Ed Jenkins' dog for governor before I'd vote for Rick Scott, and I am not kidding.


@palmettoexile - you have NOT been paying attention... they are not all children, they are not all disease free, or any of the other absolutes you list.

That being said, please don't put me or my family in the same category as these criminals. We came here legally!



Under the law signed by G.W. Bush (in 2008 I think it was), the vast majority of these kids ARE coming here legally. That's the point.

The problem now is there's more than we could have expected or planned for, and we need to have (among other things) more physical housing facilities and more court personnel to expedite the cases so the kids aren't kept in crowded, less-than-sanitary conditions that makes any health situation worse for any longer than than absolutely necessary.

You are correct in aggregate that the children are not 'disease-free', but the numbers coming WITH diseases is extremely low, as is the severity of the disease (I don't think lice qualifies as a 'disease').

What everyone should be more concerned about in this regard is that the longer we keep these kids from getting their hearing and adjudication about where they will go (lots already have relatives in the US who would take them in), and the more that are kept in overcrowded, less-than-sanitary conditions, the more any disease no matter where it was contracted is likely to spread.

Logic would say the solution to the problem is to:

1) Speed up the court hearing process so the kids can either be sent back or sent to relatives or a sponsor somewhere else as quickly as possible;
2) Allocate resources to the agencies housing and transporting these kids so that not so many of them are all in the same place to be exposed to disease, and;
3) Allocate resources to be sure all children do have an adequate health screening and that any treatment they need can be given to help keep disease from spreading.

But in the meantime, Rick Scott is trying to score cheap political points off this by trying to scare Floridians into thinking we're going to have some sort of 'infestation' or something if he does not get those answers from DC about those questions he asked, about an "unconfirmed report".

Can't take anymore

More grandstanding by the Scott Administration and one of it's political hacks posing as a doctor. They don't care at all about the kids already lacking health care already living in this state and now run around shouting that these kids from Central America will introduce plagues and illnesses that threaten to kill us all. This is what the Republican Party now calls its health care policy. No wonder they never had a counter offer to Obama Care.

Bill Thompson

It is shameful that the desperate scumbag Scott is playing politics with public policy, having his lackey write letters and immediately doing press releases. This most horrible man will do everything and anything in an desperate attempt to save his failing campaign. What's laughable are all the grammatical errors in the letter.


an addendum-posted late. I was for some reason, unable to post this reply to MarvinM and Hmmm earlier.
And, to Bill Thompson-you, sir are right! thThe grammatical errors and the run-on sentences would caused my high school English teacher to stroke out. Both edjenkins and "D" should be barred from posting-if the Miami Herald actually adhered to its own rules of conduct for such..7/24/14

Kudos to those who still have compassion-not to mention a knowledge of the law or current events. For those such as ed jenkins, and Hmmmm, I hope neither of you ever find yourselves in need of help, in this case, more rightly called salvation-and certainly not in a Biblical sense- such as these children. Yes, you're correct. Not ALL of the refugees are infants and young children; however, the majority are. In any population, even in the US,a cohort as large as this will undoubtedly have medical issues. I do not however, believe the majority of these children are carrying diseases to which we in the US are susceptible. Remarkably, even the most horrible (in US eyes) 3rd world nations, now have a vaccination rate higher than that in the good ol' US of A. You're more likely to contract measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis etc. right here-thanks to the idiots who are the anti-vaccine nuts who have been the direct cause of outbreaks of diseases that had been eradicated here until the last few years. And they CERTAINLY are not carrying any diseases that not indigenous to their part of the world-I refer to Louis Gohmert's ridiculous assertions of Ebola and the like.
@ Hmmmm-I do indeed read-very carefully-I posit more so than you. I detect hints of the NIMBY in your posts. One very important point I will bring to your attention-had YOU been reading more carefully, you would be aware that these REFUGEES are NOT illegals. THEY ARE HERE LEGALLY.Read-CAREFULLY- the post by MarvinM-you actually may learn something. While I am extremely happy for you that you and your family managed to successfully navigate the hurdles of the immigration process, do not assume that others are either as fortunate or that they are necessarily "illegal". You may have heard-on the news-or read, if you do, that many of these (mostly) children do indeed have relatives in this country. Are YOU willing to send family members back-after the tortuous journey they already endured- to die? That IS what will happen. As an American, I am not. I suppose I did indeed come to live here-legally-since I was born here and my history traces back a couple hundred years. My ancestors , however, certainly were not Native Americans. So, I suppose that makes ME an immigrant also.
The suggestions posted by MarvinM are on target. Everyone from the the President to politicians who play to their right-wing constituents on down the food chain-to people such as ed jenkins and you- need to pay attention. THAT is what NEEDS to be done. Will it? Not in this State. Nor, apparently, in many areas of this country. The nation that welcomes all, remember? Or did in the past...
As an aside to all who do post on these pages-I would suggest that all who are offended by the comments made by the anonymous "D",which are always the same and directed personally at another-to write a short email to the editor, or the writer of the column itself. People such as this do not deserve the print space and they are definitely abusing the intent. I already have sent a complaint-I will send more until this poster is banned.
(ed jenkins is merely an entertainment; he doesn't have the wit to offend because he merely copies/pastes and inserts the theme of the day. I AM sorry however-I called him "Mr. Ed" once. I tendered appropriate apologies to the horse. )
I seem to have written yet another diatribe; I tend to do so when I become properly excised about an issue. I apologize for the length of my posts, but I mean every word I post. Thanks for the Kudo- MarvinM. you ,Sir,are a Gentleman. Perhaps you would consider running for office? Florida desperately needs someone with common sense and dignity.

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