Washington, D.C.—Today, House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans, led by Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers, sent a letter to Vice President Kamala Harris requesting information on the current situation at the southern border, including information about the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s (ORR) operations related to the management, care, and treatment of unaccompanied children (UC). Specifically, Republicans asked for details on how the administration is handling the influx of migrants, particularly UC, as well as the following:
ORR facilities and capacity issues: Energy and Commerce Republicans focus on ORR’s capacity challenges due to the current surge in referrals of UC. In addition, Members ask questions about a facility in Florida (Biscayne Bay) that has not been reactivated despite being kept in “warm status,” which was done to enable ORR to quickly add bed capacity given how unpredictable migration patterns can be. It is the same facility Vice President Harris and other Democratic presidential hopefuls traveled to and criticized in 2019.
Staff hiring and training: Committee Members ask questions about ORR’s hiring and training requirements for facility staff, contractors, and volunteers. In addition, Members ask questions about reports that the Biden administration is not conducting background checks for caregivers working at emergency intake sites.
Allegations of neglect and abuse: Committee Members ask questions about recent allegations of sexual abuse, insufficient staffing, children not eating, and inadequate COVID-19 mitigation measures at a San Antonio facility.
COVID-19 protocols: Committee Members ask questions about COVID-19 protocols for children and staff at ORR facilities, including screening, testing and quarantining. In addition, Members ask questions about whether UC are required to quarantine or test negative for COVID-19prior to being released to a sponsor in order to prevent potential community exposure or spread of COVID-19.
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