HHS Accused Of Risking Safety In Moves To Relocate Migrant Children
Overcrowding in HHS facilities prompted the department to ask for an extra military base for housing migrant minors. Meanwhile reports highlight the difficult situation experienced by children in custody.
'No Good Choices': HHS Is Cutting Safety Corners To Move Migrant Kids Out Of Overcrowded Facilities
The startling images have appeared in one news report after another: children packed into overcrowded, unsafe Border Patrol facilities because there was nowhere else to put them. As of March 30, over 5,000 children were being held in Border Patrol custody, including more than 600 in each of two units in Donna, Texas, that were supposed to hold no more than 32 apiece under COVID-19 protocols. But as the Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services scrambles to open “emergency” temporary facilities at military bases, work camps and convention centers to house up to 15,000 additional children, it’s cutting corners on health and safety standards, which raises new concerns about its ability to protect children, according to congressional sources and legal observers. And even its permanent shelter network includes some facilities whose grants were renewed this year despite a record of complaints about the physical or sexual abuse of children. (Lind, 4/1)
HHS Asks Pentagon For Use Of Third Base To House Migrant Children
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has asked the Pentagon to temporarily house unaccompanied migrant children at another military base, this one in California, the Defense Department’s top spokesman confirmed Thursday. “We have received a request for assistance from HHS for the potential use of Camp Roberts in California to house unaccompanied minors,” press secretary John Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon. (Mitchell, 4/1)
Migrant Children In Emergency Facilities Have Limited Access To Family Phone Calls And Case Managers, Lawyers Say
Migrant children in two emergency housing sites in Texas managed by the U.S. government have limited access to case managers, phone calls to family, outside recreation and education, attorneys who inspected the facilities told CBS News. However, the attorneys said the two makeshift shelters overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Dallas and Midland, Texas, are safe and sanitary, and are much better settings for migrant children than overcrowded, jail-like Border Patrol facilities. The children at the HHS facilities expressed relief at being transferred out of Border Patrol custody, the attorneys said, citing interviews with more than a dozen migrant minors. (Montoya-Galvez, 4/2)