The Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services announced it would conduct a comprehensive review of the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s Unaccompanied Alien Children program after Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, along with 39 other Senate Democrats, sent a letter to the Office of Inspector General requesting they look into the issue.
The request for an investigation follows weeks of uncertainty about the health department’s ability to appropriately care for children placed in its custody as a result of President Donald Trump’s family separation policy and the department’s lack of clarity around plans to reunite children and parents.
“We write to request a comprehensive review of the operations of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement’s Unaccompanied Alien Children program, particularly focused on how the office has approached and responded to President Trump’s family separation policy. We are alarmed by the uncertainty and pain inflicted on thousands of families arriving at the U.S. border, particularly the mental and physical harm inflicted on immigrant children and their parents by this policy, and we are deeply troubled by recent reports of maltreatment of children while under ORR custody. While we are encouraged by the announcement of recent efforts to prioritize family reunification, we also have significant questions about how the department is working to accomplish this goal. It is equally important that we understand what measures, if any, HHS undertook to prioritize the health, safety and wellbeing of children in its custody as it implemented the family separation policy, both before and after President Trump’s June 20 executive order to reverse the policy,” Carper and Coons wrote.
The full text of the letter is available at bit.ly/2KlTbZC.