After Senate Investigation, Cornyn Calls for Stronger HHS Vetting to Protect Unaccompanied Children

I issued the following statement after the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, led by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), released a report outlining the inadequate screening process through which unaccompanied children are released to sponsors by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):

The conditions many of these children experience at the hands of human smugglers and traffickers as they journey to the U.S. is heart-wrenching, and today’s report makes clear that sadly, for some it doesn’t end there.

I commend Senator Portman for working in a bipartisan way to shed light on an egregious failure by the Administration to ensure the safety of these young children in their custody.

We have a responsibility to protect these children from being preyed upon by criminals and human traffickers, and the report released today shows it’s time to reform the screening and oversight process to guarantee their safety.

I have previously introduced the Helping Unaccompanied Alien Minors and Alleviating National Emergency (HUMANE), legislation that would have reformed the system and ensured that unaccompanied children would never be released to sponsors without adequate criminal background checks. He also joined Sen. Charles Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in sending a letter demanding answers from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and HHS after a whistleblower alleged that at least 3,400 sponsors out of a sample of 29,000 listed in a government database have criminal histories that include domestic violence, homicide, child molestation, sexual assault and human trafficking.


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