Augusta Tea Party to Speak out on Refugees at Detention Center - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Augusta Tea Party to Speak out on Refugees at Detention Center

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The debate is raging over what to do with seven Central American children at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Detention Center in Augusta County.

Members of the Augusta County Tea Party are planning to speak at Wednesday night's Augusta County Board of Supervisors meeting, but one leader is asking people to tone it down.

“I think we as a community need to pull together and make sure that they're well cared for and they're respected,” said Supervisor David Karaffa.

After touring the Shenandoah Valley facility housing the seven child refugees, Karaffa says he's thinking less about tax dollars and border law and more about the children.

“You listen to their stories and you put yourself in their shoes and you may find yourself coming to that same decision,” he said.

This weekend people came to Verona to protest and counter-protest the news, and local tea party leaders announced their plans to speak out at the Board of Supervisors meeting. With all this, Karaffa's asking people to take a step back. “I know that's hard for a lot of the people I represent to hear, but the thing I really come back to is who we are as citizens here in Augusta County. We're hospitable, we're caring,” he said.

At the International Rescue Committee's office in Charlottesville, the debate's pretty simple: "They're children that need protection. They're fleeing violence,” said Harriet Kuhr with IRC.

In the meantime, Karaffa is reaching out to his constituents in a blog post letting them know where he stands. “While these kids are here we will take care of them,” he said. “We will do our due diligence to see to their needs.”

He also explained a contract Augusta has with the federal government is actually helping the county's finances. "I can say that it's federal dollars flowing into our local coffers that are paying for the care and treatment of these children, so much so that it's actually offsetting some of our debt, so for the county tax coffers it's a plus, what we're providing to these children, however it is all tax dollars,” Karaffa said.

Essentially it’s the entire country paying to house the Central American children; not just Augusta. But Karaffa is pushing for new immigration laws, and says he shares many of the Tea Party's concerns.

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