U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) released a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on Monday on the steps the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) can take regarding unaccompanied children (UAC) crossing the southern U.S. border.
“According to this report, children who embark on the dangerous trip from Central America to the United States have been traumatized by their journey, telling of deeply disturbing incidents,” Johnson said. “The GAO found that their mistreatment does not always end at our border. As the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s oversight of the humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied children has revealed, this crisis is not going away. The administration has become more efficient at apprehending, processing and dispersing children across the country, some into terrible situations.”
The report detailed how the Obama administration isn’t adequately monitoring the grantees or sponsors who are responsible for providing basic care for unaccompanied minors. The Office of Refugee Resettlement, an agency tasked with placing unaccompanied minors with appropriate sponsors, has incomplete records and is not monitoring the facilities that house the children. Additionally, the office lacks a consistent system to follow up on the children once they’ve been placed with sponsors.
It is also unclear what post-release services are provided regarding the children’s well-being.
The Obama administration has yet to respond to the concerns raised.