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Miami-Dade mayor to feds: You may need to help us with surge of unaccompanied immigrant children


Miami-Dade has sent the federal government a letter noting an increase in unaccompanied immigrant children taxing county services and asking for potential help.

"For the past several weeks, we have seen an increase in the involvement and support of Miami-Dade County with regard to the caring of" the children, Mayor Carlos Gimenez wrote U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell on Thursday.

"With over 3,180 children having been released to the care and custody of sponsors in Florida since the first of the year, Miami-Dade and its agencies will undoubtedly play a significatn role once again with this Federal mission."

Gimenez goes on to note that the federal government should continue to exchange information with the county and provide financial assistance if necessary, as it did when there was an influx of about 9,000 Haitian immigrants following the 2010 earthquake.

"Please also be aware that Miami-Dade has a long history of providing support and aid to those in the Caribbean and Latin America following disasters and other emergencies," the letter says.

Last week, Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski issued a public plea for lawyers to help represent some of the children. He said Miami's immigration court would add 150 cases through September for recently arrived unaccompanied children.

Many of the Central American children initially held at detention centers along the U.S.-Mexico border are arriving in immigrant-rich South Florida, where their parents and other relatives live.