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Planes carrying unaccompanied minors reportedly landed in Tennessee, lawmakers say

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki addressed the reports during a press briefing Friday.
Published: May. 24, 2021 at 11:52 AM EDT|Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 12:09 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Reports of planes filled with unaccompanied migrant children arriving in Tennessee sparked calls for answers from Tennessee leaders.

Reports surfaced that at least four planes carrying unaccompanied migrant children landed at Wilson Air Center in Chattanooga last week, according to Senator Marsha Blackburn.

Governor Bill Lee took to Twitter to call for answers on the subject.

According to Governor Bill Lee, Tennessee declined the Biden Administration’s request to, “house unaccompanied minors and called on the administration to secure the border.”

“When we demand answers, they cut off transparency and emboldened one of the worst human trafficking crises we’ve seen at our border in the last 20 years,” Bill Lee said.

Lee said he commended Senator Bill Hagerty and Marsha Blackburn, “for calling this out.”

“Tennesseans deserve to know who is coming into our state,” Gov. Lee said.

In a post on Twitter, Senator Bill Hagerty stated, “Tennesseans deserve answers and they deserve them now.”

Senator Marsha Blackburn said she and Representative Chuck Fleischmann drafted a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense to, “figure out what is going on.”

In the letter, lawmakers called on leaders to schedule a briefing to discuss, “the Department’s management of UACs, including any operations in Chattanooga and Tennessee at large.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki addressed the reports during a press briefing Friday.

“As we have been very clear about, children are abducted and as to unite these unaccompanied children, children under the age of 18, with families with sponsor families, so children were traveling through and have been traveling through Tennessee. They are simply on their way to unite with relatives and sponsors, to meet sponsors in the state or just traveling through Tennessee until they reach another destination to unite with family members or legal sponsors,” Psaki said.

When questioned on Governor Bill Lee’s opposition to the flights Psaki stated, “Tennessee is a state right in the middle of the country and some kids have to travel through there to get to their destination and we’ve been very clear that our objective is to treat these kids humanely, get them to safe homes especially homes of loved ones and sponsor families.”

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