WASHINGTON, DC– Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) released the following statement following new reports that last year, 37 migrant children, ages 5 to 12, were left in vans overnight as they waited to be reunited with families at Port Isabel Detention Center, Texas.
“This latest report is completely unacceptable. Last year, I led a bipartisan delegation down to Texas to tour facilities where children detained at the Southwest border have been held, including Port Isabel. To now learn that children as young as 5 years old were left in vans for more than 24 hours is simply indefensible. I support enforcement of our nation’s borders, but I want to make something very clear – I strongly believe that children should not be separated from their parents. Period. And those separated should be cared for as if they were our own children until they are reunified with their families. This is not who we are as Americans. I expect a prompt explanation from the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services about this failure,” said Walden.
In July 2018, Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden led a bipartisan delegation of members down to McAllen, Texas to tour part of the Southwest border, a port of entry, a central processing facility operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility, and an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelter.
In June 2018, every Republican member of the Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to HHS stating that children should not be separated from their parents. The letter also sought information from HHS to ensure that children who are in ORR’s custody are properly cared for while in ORR’s care.
The committee’s oversight of the ORR program dates back to 2014, when it first examined reports of abuse and lax standards.