GOP Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Hopeful Slams 'Secret' Flights Carrying Unaccompanied Minors to State

© REUTERS / HANNAH BEIERTravellers wait to board at the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., December, 23 2021. REUTERS/Hannah Beier
Travellers wait to board at the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., December, 23 2021. REUTERS/Hannah Beier - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.12.2021
The former Pennsylvania congressman vows to monitor all arriving migrants for their vaccination status and criminal background if he wins the gubernatorial seat in the 2022 election.
Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate and former Republican congressman Lou Barletta has criticised the governor for allowing several flights carrying unaccompanied migrant minors to arrive at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport throughout December in secret. Barletta claimed that the fact of the arrival of these "ghost flights" only became publicly known due to one of them being "caught" red-handed.
Barletta said in an interview with Fox News that he confronted Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, on this matter, but did not get a satisfactory answer. The gubernatorial candidate also wondered if any of the arriving migrants were checked for their vaccinations (not just for COVID-19) and whether their criminal backgrounds were studied.

"They got caught. Nobody was upfront and nobody knew it was happening. And after they got caught, there were crickets for answers".

Lou Barletta
Wolf told Fox News that the flights that Barletta referenced were transit ones and that Pennsylvania was not their destination. He further stressed that the flights were ordered by the Department of Health and Human Services and the state could not intervene in this case.
Migrants, part of a caravan of thousands trying to reach the U.S., gather at the border fence between Mexico and the United States after arriving in Tijuana, Mexico November 13, 2018 - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.12.2021
Record 122,000 Unaccompanied Migrant Children Arrive in US Shelters in 2021, Reports Say
Barletta challenged Wolf's response by arguing that the governor should address any matter, even a federal one, if it impacts the state's population. The Republican vowed that he will act differently if he gets elected in 2022.

"That's the governor's responsibility […] not to just have blind faith in the Biden administration that they're doing all these checks on people before they come into our communities. That's what they'll get when I'm the next governor of Pennsylvania".

Lou Barletta
The scandal comes as the US faces one of the toughest years in terms of the number of migrants arriving at its borders. The Republicans repeatedly blasted the Biden administration for not acting actively enough on the issue and purportedly allowing thousands of migrants into the country. The White House repeatedly downplayed the issue. President Joe Biden said he won't be addressing the problem by closing the borders, but rather will do it by resolving the roots of immigration – poverty, consequences of natural disasters, and lack of COVID-19 vaccines in the migrants' home countries.
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