Press Releases

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Comments on Touring HHS Facility Housing UAC at Ft. Sill

Washington, DC, July 12, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Washington D.C., July 12, 2014 | comments

Today Congressman Jim Bridenstine (OK-1) toured the HHS facility housing Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn (TN-7) joined him on the tour.  The Congressman sought to gain an understanding of the conditions and status of the UAC and the processes and procedures federal agencies use in securing their safety and releasing them to sponsors in the U.S.  He also sought to gain insight into actions Congress might take to stop the humanitarian crisis and the threat to U.S. national security and national sovereignty posed by the current crisis.

Congressman Bridenstine said, "This is a very difficult situation, and I am impressed with the professionalism and compassion of the people who work at the HHS facility as well as the Lawton/Ft. Sill community."

"My concerns were validated regarding the dangers of the journey to the U.S.  The children are exposed to human trafficking, abuse and even death.  My concerns about the 'sponsors' to whom the children are being released were also validated.  Since it is very difficult to obtain an accurate background check when the potential sponsors are themselves illegal aliens, HHS personnel rely heavily on asking them questions and the sponsors' self-reporting.  There are cases where the sponsors are not related to the child, and HHS has acknowledged human traffickers have attempted to obtain release of some children."

Bridenstine said the people at the HHS facility at Ft. Sill do not have all the answers to his questions.  He is providing Kenneth Wolfe, Deputy Director of Public Affairs at HHS, with the list of questions and requesting a response.  The list of questions and the request to HHS is attached.

Bridenstine added, "This crisis is directly related to this Administration's failed policies and refusal to enforce the law.  The President's $3.7 billion spending proposal will not stop the crisis.  Solving this is a matter of national security and national sovereignty.  We must secure the border and dissuade people from making, or sending their children on, this dangerous journey.  Hiring smugglers and trans-national criminal organizations to bring children into the United States creates a far more dangerous scenario than what the UACs face at home."

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