EASTON, Pa. – Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Lou Barletta says first it was the Wilkes-Barre Scranton airport, and now it's Lehigh Valley International Airport getting what he calls ghost flights full of illegal immigrants.

"Why at night? Why the secrecy? You know, to pick Christmas night, New Year's night, and no one knows where they're going," said Barletta. "Shouldn't those communities know?"

But the Biden administration says there's no secret.

A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said it's their legal responsibility to care for unaccompanied children in federal custody, and that if they can locate a vetted sponsor, they arrange travel to get the child with that sponsor.

While Barletta says witnesses reported seeing adult passengers, WFMZ is told those had to be travel escorts, required for children in federal custody.

Barletta questions how the administration can confirm ages of older kids.

It's unclear from where the children are coming.

"I served on the Homeland Security Committee, so I could tell you firsthand, it is near impossible to do criminal background checks on people that are coming from other countries. Who are you calling for references?" Barletta said. "We need to make sure we're protecting the people. It is the governor's job and it is the attorney general's job not to have blind faith in the Biden administration and say, 'Oh, well, you know, this isn't our problem.'"

Gov. Tom Wolf's office says immigration is a federal matter and is calling this a publicity stunt by Barletta.

The Wolf administration confirmed kids passed through Wilkes-Barre to be unified with their parents or sponsors.

The governor's press secretary added all unaccompanied children must be medically cleared to travel, and that the federal government has been administering COVID-19 vaccines to eligible children since the summer.

The attorney general's office referred questions to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"Rep. Wild has asked for additional information from the Biden administration about these reports," said a spokesperson from the office of U.S. Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA 7th District). "She will continue to monitor the situation."

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