Senators expressed their infuriation regarding recent sexual allegations in holding facilities at the Southern Border, according to Fox News.
The HHS claims that they have a strictly enforced “zero-tolerance” regarding any form of abuse.
“HHS takes its humanitarian mission seriously and while unaccompanied migrant children are in our care under the law, we strive to provide a safe space while they go through immigration proceedings,” The HHS stated.
“HHS has a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and inappropriate sexual behavior at all UC care provider facilities.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has demanded that the holding facility be shut down immediately.
“The Biden administration opened the borders and failed to plan for the influx of unaccompanied children crossing the border, and now we are faced with our worst fears — allegations of child abuse and neglect.”
“The allegations of horrific abuse of children in the custody of the Biden administration are tragic,” Cruz expressed in outrage.
“We need to immediately get to the bottom of what is happening to these children and President Biden needs to step up and address the driving factor behind this — his crisis at the southern border.”
From Fox News:
Texas welfare officials said Wednesday they received three reports of abuse and neglect at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio. The site holds more than 1,300 migrant children — one of a number of sites set up to handle a surge in migrants in recent months.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he believed the allegations came from someone inside the facility and that they include sexual abuse, insufficient staffing, children not eating and COVID-positive migrants not being separated.
In its statement, first reported by The Associated Press, HHS said it “will continue investigating any incidents affecting children’s health, well-being and safety and will take the proper measures including initiating employee disciplinary action, termination, and reporting to appropriate investigative entities, such as law enforcement agencies and relevant licensing bodies.”
HHS’ policy is for care providers to report the allegations to appropriate agencies, including the FBI if necessary, suspend any employee from duties related to the care of children, and take action to protect children in the program — while providing follow-up services and notifying parents and guardians.
There are currently more than 16,000 unaccompanied children in HHS care and more than 4,000 in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody.
On Thursday, CBP announced there had been 172,000 migrant encounters in March. That included 18,890 unaccompanied children — a 100% increase from the already high numbers encountered in February, and the highest monthly number recorded.