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More than 500 migrant children being housed in Pennsylvania

Published On: Jul 23 2014 05:29:17 PM CDT
Girls in holding area, illegal undocumented immigration

Ross D. Franklin/Pool/Reuters

HARRISBURG, Pa. -

More than 500 migrant children are being housed in Pennsylvania as federal officials wrestle with a national crisis created by a flood of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors across the southern U.S. border.

State officials confirmed Wednesday that the federal government told them 120 children are in two temporary centers in Bethlehem and Heidelberg Township, Berks County, near Womelsdorf.

Kait Gillis of the state Department of Public Welfare said the other 386 youngsters are staying with "sponsors" that include relatives, religious groups and others.

More than 57,000 minors, mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, have crossed into the United States since October.

President Obama is seeking emergency funds for more immigration judges and detention facilities, while congressional Republicans are demanding changes in federal law to speed up deportations.