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The fears may not be unfounded.

Immigration officials have said many of the children have never seen a doctor until they are intercepted by agents at the border, and head lice and scabies screenings are part of the initial checks.

Indeed, one early hiccup in the government’s efforts to find places to house the children was that the military, which offered housing on several bases, refused to let the children onto bases until seven days had elapsed from the time doctors had administered inoculations.

After seeing the local opposition to the Lawrenceville site, HHS officials hit pause.

“The project of developing Saint Paul’s College as a site for caring for minors in the Unaccompanied Alien Children program is on hold pending community input,” said Kenneth J. Wolfe, spokesman for HHS’s Administration for Children and Families.

HHS officials will attend a community meeting about the plan Thursday in Lawrenceville.

The Obama administration has called the surge of children a “humanitarian crisis” driven by a spike in gang violence in Central American countries that is prompting children to flee to the U.S.

However, critics blame President Obama for laying out a welcome mat for illegal immigrants, especially minors, and for discouraging deportations. Government interviews with the young border crossers confirm that many believed that once they arrived in the U.S., they’d get permission to stay.

Border Patrol agents have been taken off patrol duties to perform what they call “baby-sitting.” Agents say they are doing everything from changing diapers to trying to separate boys and girls getting frisky in detention centers.

On Monday, Rep. Candice S. Miller, Michigan Republican and chairwoman of a key border security subcommittee, wrote a letter asking Mr. Obama to deploy the National Guard to take up some of those duties and let the agents get back to their job of stopping illegal immigrants, drug smugglers and gun traffickers.

“This diversion away from normal patrol responsibilities will result in an increase of drugs and migrants illicitly crossing our border,” she said.

She called on the president to not only deploy the Guard but to give it police powers so it could also aid in patrolling the border and arresting illegal immigrants.

Stephen Dinan contributed to this article.