Congressman David Schweikert Calls for HHS to Investigate the Alleged Southwest Border Violations
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman David Schweikert calls for HHS to investigate the alleged Southwest Key border violations and released the following statement:
“Being the father of a two and a half year-old, the types of allegations being reported terrify me down to my bones. There is a special place in hell for those who abuse the most vulnerable. Now we are going to take action to find out what has really been going on and how many years it goes back.”
Rep. Schweikert, joined by fellow Arizona Members Martha McSally, Debbie Lesko, and Andy Biggs sent a letter to the Inspector General and Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement demanding there be an investigation to look into the sexual abuse allegations at the Southwest Key facility in Arizona. The letter asks thorough questions related to all of the allegations of sexual and physical abuse at federal funded shelters which housed underage minors.
The contents of the letter is below.
August 6th, 2018
The Honorable Daniel R. Levinson
Office of the Inspector General
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Washington, D.C. 20026
The Honorable Scott Lloyd
Office of Refugee Resettlement
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
330 C ST SW, 5th Floor
Washington DC 20201
Dear Inspector General Levinson and Director Lloyd,
My colleagues and I write to you today demanding both thorough oversight, and accountability as we exercise our constitutional duty to conduct thorough oversight over agencies which have not been forthright in their accounts to Congress.
HHS has stated that the unaccompanied minors are, “vulnerable children in difficult circumstances, and the Office of Refugee Resettlement at HHS’ Administration for Children and Families treats our responsibility for each child with the utmost care, and that, “any allegation of abuse or neglect is taken seriously.” Subsequently, press reports have stated that a stop placement order has been issued for certain facilities.
We request that the inspector general for HHS, also copied on this letter, immediately investigate the allegations of sexual and physical abuse at these federal funded shelters which house underaged minors. We also request that you provide us with timely and formal responses to the following questions:
- Which federal officials knew of the allegations of molestations of minors, and who made the decision not to raise these shocking allegations when HHS officials have testified before Congress?
- On Thursday, HHS stated that shelter operators reported over 250 (*264 exactly) allegations of sexual abuse to the FBI; how many of these allegations were founded, and what will be done with these allegations and the facilities which has rampant reports of sexual abuse and misconduct?
- Which, if any, of these facilities employed or were being operated by staff without the proper background checks, vetting, and training necessary to work with underaged children?
- Of the facilities which HHS contracts with allegations of abuse, how many are non-profits which receive preferential tax status with the government?
- How much money have non-profits with allegations of abuse and misconduct received in federal funds? (*In the past five years, the Texas-based nonprofit has received more than $1.3 billion in federal funds for the shelters and other services—including more than $500 million so far this year.)
These allegations of rampant abuse of underaged children are sickening, and reprehensible. HHS must seriously evaluate their processes of responding to allegations of abuse, and the OIG must immediately open an investigation into these horrific allegations.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Katherina Dimenstein with Congressman Schweikert at 202-225-2190.