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PORTLAND, Ore. — Federal officials said this week that hundreds of immigrant children who crossed over the U.S./Mexico border were brought to the Pacific Northwest, including 50 who have been sponsored in Oregon.

According to the Department of Health & Human Services, Morrison Child & Family Services in Portland got $3.7 million in federal grant money this year to house and take care of immigrant children.

It's not known how much it is involved with these particular immigrants. Officials at Morrison Child services, a non-profit, referred KGW to the U.S. Department of Health when asked for comment.

Records show 50 kids who crossed the U.S./Mexico border have now been sponsored in Oregon. More than 200 kids have been taken to Washington state. California has received over 3,000.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has said Oregon will continue to have open arms for the children, but blasted Congress for not having a better system.

The issue has sparked Portland rallies for both sides. Some of the unaccompanied children have family members in the U.S. they'll be reunited with, others are alone. But the government says most are running away from violence and drugs in Central America.

They'll be here waiting, with federal grant money paying for their stay, while they await an immigration hearing.

Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley told KGW the process of law will determine what happens to the unaccompanied minors, but meanwhile they need to be cared for.

"I think that for Oregon to host 50 of these children as they await the legal proceedings is completely appropriate," Merkley said Friday. "We should recognize that they are our fellow human beings on this planet. They are children. We should take good care of them until they complete their proceedings."

KGW also asked people at Portland's Pioneer Square for their opinions.

"They're just not in a very good place right now, so eventually they would have ended up in social care anyway," said Sarah Dolan of Portland.

Deborah Thomas disagreed, wondering why Oregon is being brought into the border crisis discussion.

"I think the countries the kids are from should pay for them, and we should take taxpayer money to pay for our own children who are homeless and hungry and living in the streets," she said.

John Schwartz said it was hard to put all the kids into one category.

"Our country provides humanitarian relief all over the world," said Schwartz, who was visiting Portland from Dallas. "So if that's part of our government's budget to do that, it probably makes more sense to do that here at our border."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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