Congressman Tony Gonzales Asks HHS for Increased Transparency on Status and Placement of Unaccompanied Minors
I recently sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra asking for increased transparency on the status and placement of unaccompanied minors who enter the care of HHS. This letter comes after five migrant girls, ages 11-months to 7 years old, were found abandoned in my district. When unaccompanied minors are found abandoned after crossing the border, they are placed in the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within HHS. My request to HHS asks that ORR openly communicate with Members of Congress as it cares and finds sponsors for these children. You can read the full letter here.
I requested answers to the following questions:
- What oversight efforts are being conducted by the administration to ensure that unaccompanied children are placed with safe and legitimate sponsors?
- What follow-up mechanisms are being enforced, if any, to ensure that HHS continues to monitor children after they have been placed in the custody of a sponsor?
- What initiatives has the administration taken to promote transparency into ORR’s operations with both parties in Congress?
With a record number of unaccompanied children in the care of HHS, we must take all the necessary steps to keep these children safe and placed in the custody of a legitimate sponsor. For those of us who represent areas where these children are found and where processing centers are located, increased transparency between Congress and ORR would allow for better awareness and swifter, more effective policy making. Ultimately, this means better care for the unaccompanied minors who come into the care of HHS.