Beyer requests expanded IG review into shelters for migrant children

Don BeyerRep. Don Beyer wrote to Daniel R. Levinson, Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, asking that he expand the investigation into the reports of neglect, and both physical and sexual abuse at shelters housing migrant children.

Rep. Beyer urged Levinson to review how the federal government maintains and evaluates contracts with the facilities after concerns of abuse were raised. Further, Rep. Beyer asked the IG to investigate communication and agency guidance regarding Congressional and press access to Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelters and affiliated facilities.

He wrote:

“I am deeply concerned by reports that immigrant children are allegedly being mistreated in federal custody. I am equally concerned that the federal government continues to maintain contracts with the facilities suspected of abuse and that the federal government has denied or limited access both to Members of Congress who have tried to conduct meaningful oversight, and to the press that have attempted to investigate.

“I welcome your office’s investigation into the “conditions at shelters for migrant children.”  However, the Tribune report found that the federal government maintained contracts with companies operating immigrant youth shelters even after allegations of serious lapses in care, including neglect and both sexual and physical abuse, were raised. I ask that you further investigate: (1) how contracts are considered; and (2) how they are evaluated after abuse allegations arise.

“Additionally, as Members of Congress have tried to engage in oversight to understand the conditions at shelters for migrant children, reports have shown that they were stonewalled or turned away.  Similarly, photography and press access has repeatedly been denied and limited.  Accordingly, I also ask that you investigate communication and agency guidance regarding Congressional and press access to ORR shelters and affiliated facilities.”

A copy of the letter can be found below and here:

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