Robert Hurt statement on proposed illegal immigrant facility
Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement following tonight’s public hearing at Brunswick High School on the sudden announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that they are planning to use the campus of St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, VA as a detention center for juvenile illegal immigrants who have unlawfully crossed our U.S. border:
“One week ago, the people of Lawrenceville and Brunswick County were blind-sided by a surprise announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that the agency had closed a deal to locate a detention facility on the campus of St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville for 500 juvenile illegal immigrants who illegally crossed the U.S., border and are being detained by the government. The HHS announcement sparked an immediate outpouring of concern from local elected leaders and citizens seeking answers to very serious questions about the public safety and public health implications of this plan and about the authority of the federal government to violate the zoning ordinances of the town of Lawrenceville by locating a detention facility on property zoned for use as a school.
“On Monday morning, I sent a letter to HHS Secretary Burwell requesting that her agency immediately stop this process, and on Monday afternoon, HHS informed local elected officials that it would ‘pause’ its process. Since Monday, HHS employees have visited Lawrenceville with the purpose of convincing the residents that locating 500 juvenile illegal immigrants there would be good for the community. At the same time, HHS has repeatedly promised local elected leaders that at the end of the day if the community opposes the plan, it would be withdrawn.
“In addition to community education efforts, HHS employees tonight attended a town hall meeting at the Brunswick County High School for the purpose of receiving input and questions from the citizens of Lawrenceville and Brunswick County. By all accounts, and despite the best efforts by HHS, the people of Lawrenceville and Brunswick County still have overwhelming concerns about the safety and health implications of the plan. Furthermore, it is clear that a growing number of people in Lawrenceville and Brunswick County do not appreciate the underhanded manner in which HHS attempted to impose its plan on the community without any meaningful input from local elected leaders and citizens. With that said, I call on Secretary Burwell to make good on her agency’s promise to the people of Lawrenceville and Brunswick County to abide by the will of the community and immediately withdraw its plan for a juvenile illegal immigrant detention facility on St. Paul’s campus.”