Schatz Urges Investigation of Contractors In Charge of Migrant Children

June 26, 2019, 6:27 AM HST · Updated June 26, 6:27 AM
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Today, US Senator Brian Schatz of Hawai‘i led a group of eight colleagues in calling for the government to investigate federal contractors in charge of migrant children who have been detained after the children crossed into the US at the southern border.

Sen. Schatz said the letters to the Government Accountability Office and the suspension and debarment official and inspector general at the US Department of Health and Human Services were sent after what he called “disturbing reports of hungry, sick, and dirty children” being held in federal contractor facilities near the border.

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“Based on recent reports, there is significant evidence that some federal contractors and grantees have not provided adequate accommodations for children in line with legal and contractual requirements,” the senators wrote. “In one such report, children in a facility near El Paso, Texas were given inadequate food, water, and sanitation. Further, it was reported that older children were taking care of infants and that there was an outbreak of the flu due to improper medical care. These news reports build on previous reports from the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services indicating that many of the federal contractors and grantees charged with the care of migrant children, both by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security, have not complied with all applicable federal and state policies and requirements. This is especially troubling given that the children in their care are often young and unable to advocate for their interests.”

In addition to Schatz, the letters were signed by U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.).

All three letters urged government officials to decide if federal contractors and grantees are in breach of contractual obligations or federal regulations and should therefore face financial consequences.

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