PORTLAND -- Federal officials confirmed this week, hundreds of immigrant children who crossed over the U.S.-Mexico border have been brought here to the Northwest.
According to the Department of Health and Human services, Morrison Child and Family Services on Northeast Sandy Boulevard got $3.7 million in federal grant money, for this year alone, to house and take care of immigrant children.
It's a non-profit that provides services for children and families in need.
It's not known how much it is involved with these particular immigrants.Morrison Child services officials would only refer KGW to the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. when asked for comment.
Records show 50 kids who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border have now been sponsored in Oregon. More than 200 kids have been taken to Washington state.California has seen over 3,000.
The issue has sparked Portland rallies for both sides. Some of the unaccompanied children have family members in the U.S. they'll be reunited with, others are simply alone. But the government says most are running away from violence and drugs in Central America.
They'll be here waiting, with that federal grant money paying for their stay, while they await an immigration hearing.
Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley told KGW the process of law will determine what happens to the unaccompanied minors, but meanwhile they need to be cared for.
I think that for Oregon to host 50 of these children as they await the legal proceedings is completely appropriate, Merkley said Friday. We should recognize that they are our fellow human beings on this planet. They are children. We should take good care of them until they complete their proceedings.
KGW also asked people at Portland's Pioneer Square for their opinions.
They're just not in a very good place right now, so eventually they would have ended up in social care anyway, said Sarah Dolan of Portland.
Deborah Thomas disagreed, wondering why Oregon is being brought into the border crisis discussion.
I think the countries the kids are from should pay for them, and we should take taxpayer money to pay for our own children who are homeless and hungry and living in the streets, she said.
John Schwartz is visiting Portland from Dallas, Texas and says it's hard to put all the kids into one category of who should be allowed in and who shouldn't.
Our country provides humanitarian relief all over the world, Schwartz said. So if that's part of our government's budget to do that, it probably makes more sense to do that here at our border.
Governor Kitzhaber weighed in, saying Oregon will continue to have open arms for the children, but blasted Congress for not having a better system.