ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Thursday the Trump administration is refusing to give him information on the hundreds of immigrant children who are being kept in New York foster-care agencies after being separated from their parents.
Cuomo, a Democrat who is up for re-election, said his administration estimates there are 700 immigrant children at New York care agencies — double from what he said earlier in the week. He said the number is inexact because foster care agencies are bound by a federal gag order.
In a conference call with reporters, the governor said he has called and written the federal Human and Health Services secretary demanding information on the children housed in New York so the state can provide health and mental health services. He said the state will cover the costs of the services, but the federal government is refusing to respond.
“They are not political pawns you can hide,” Cuomo said of the children. “It’s disgusting for HHS to say ‘I’m not telling you where they are’ . . . What’s the possible justification?”
Cuomo said he believes New York is receiving more children because it has one of the largest foster-care networks in the nation. He previously has said he’d sue the Trump administration over its “zero tolerance” at the border policy.