The top secret operation to move illegal alien children from detention centers near the border to locations throughout the United States is continuing with the government now engaging Catholic churches to shelter the border jumpers until they can be processed and released.

The Daily Caller reports that a diocese in California is acting as a way station for the illegal children, housing them until other living arrangements are made elsewhere in the U.S.

The department “has reached out to the diocese and the bishop, and asked us to shelter families in transition,” Maria Christina Mendez, at the Office of Hispanic Affairs, told The Daily Caller. The services would be needed for the next 18 months, “or longer,” she said.

In response, the diocese has offered to let family groups of migrants stay at its buildings for up to three days, while they are being relayed by federal immigration agencies to cities and towns where they want to live, she said.

“Some of them are going to the East Coast, some of them are going all the way up north,” she told The Daily Caller.

The illegal inflow includes at least 100,000 people since October. Many are in so-called “family units” of adults and children.

Ordinary citizens are not informed of these arrangements, causing a lot of anger to be directed at authorities:

The diocese’ activities were exposed only after parishioners called into Rush Limbaugh’s radio show to protest the bishop’s agreement to provide shelter to the families for DHS.

“They have made the decision that they’re going to absorb the immigrants that are coming through because the federal government called the bishop’s office on Monday,” said one of the parishioners, named Ann. “The church will reimburse us for any out-of-pocket expenses and we were told not to talk to anybody about it, especially the media.”

They were told to be silent to prevent any local protests, Ann said. “They don’t want a lot of people there at the churches when they busload these mothers and children,” said Ann.

Another fait accompli involving the movement of illegal alien children occurred in the Chicago area where more than 400 illegals have been dumped by the government, according to Senator Mark Kirk.

Sen. Mark Kirk said today that 429 unaccompanied minors from the Mexican border crisis are in Chicago in the custody of a federal agency, and he wants to know if any of the children have criminal records.

Kirk, an Illinois Republican, said the children are in the custody of the Health and Human Services Department. His news release did not say where the children are being housed.

In the release, Kirk also said the State Department is “unable to confirm if any of these individuals has a criminal record or background.”

He added: “If any of these individuals has a criminal record in their home country, our government owes it to the American people to facilitate the sharing of records and reassure our nation that these individuals pose no threat.”

Kirk has written to the U.S. ambassadors in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador asking whether their embassies have done background checks on the “unaccompanied alien children” who have entered the U.S. at its southern border.

This is a prudent and sensible request. The Department of Homeland Security said in a report that 47% of the illegal alien children are young men between the ages of 14 to 17 — prime recruiting age for drug cartels. Also, it would not be unheard of for children growing up in such impoverished conditions to engage in a life of petty crime.

Don’t people have a right to know if the government is going to dump kids with a criminal record in their midst?

According to Illinois Rep. Gutierrez, apparently not…

Gutierrez reacted to Kirk’s statement with even sharper criticism, saying Kirk “should be ashamed of himself.”

“Rather than exploiting and demonizing children to score political points, how about the senator works with the president to solve a national problem?” Gutierrez asked.

The House lawmaker pointed out that Kirk on Thursday also called for a crackdown on human rights abusers in Iran and in March spoke out against human traffickers, including child-sex traffickers.

Gutierrez accused Kirk of pulling a “stunt” by questioning whether the children were a threat.

“Among the children are little girls who are fleeing those who would abuse their bodies,” Gutierrez said. “Sen. Kirk, open your heart.”

With the greatest of secrecy, the government is shipping these illegal kids all over the country, and then releasing them into the custody of a family member or “sponsor” — whoever that is. DHS revealed that the “same family members or sponsors are appearing several times to claim different children from the custody of U.S. authorities.”

And Kirk should be ashamed to be asking for criminal background checks on these kids?

Once again, the Obama administration is shoving something unpalatable down the throats of the American people. And they are doing it in secret without informing citizens of potential health risks, while not even taking the basic precaution of running criminal background checks on children who already may be involved in a life of crime.

Perhaps Congress can include funding for background checks in the president’s $3.7 billion request to deal with the crisis at the border. Somebody has got to do something to protect the citizens from the consequences of this invasion.