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GOP Senator Demands Criminal Background Checks On Illegal Immigrant Children

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U.S. Border Patrol agents escort a group of undocumented immigrants into custody with helicopter support from the U.S. Office of Air and Marine on May 20, 2013 near the U.S.-Mexico border in Havana, Texas. (credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

U.S. Border Patrol agents escort a group of undocumented immigrants into custody with helicopter support from the U.S. Office of Air and Marine on May 20, 2013 near the U.S.-Mexico border in Havana, Texas. (credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBSDC/AP) — Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk is demanding criminal background checks on the unaccompanied children that have crossed the U.S. border with Mexico.

According to Kirk, 429 unaccompanied minors are now living in Chicago.

Kirk says he has sent letters to the U.S. ambassadors in to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador asking whether or not their embassies have performed criminal background checks. He says the federal government is obligated to ensure the immigrants “pose no threat.”

“I just learned that 429 unaccompanied minors from the Mexican border crisis are now in Chicago and currently in Health and Human Services custody, but our State Department is unable to confirm if any of these individuals has a criminal record or background,” Kirk said in a statement. “If any of these individuals has a criminal record in their home country, our government owes it to the American people to facilitate a sharing of records and reassure our nation that these individuals pose no threat.”

More than 57,000 unaccompanied children have arrived in the United States since October. Tens of thousands more have arrived traveling as families, mostly mothers with their children.

Many are trying to reunite with family members and escape violence in their countries. They also report hearing that once in the U.S. they would be allowed to stay.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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