Health and Human Services responds to sexual assault reports at child migrant facilities

Local News

FILE – In this March 19, 2021, file photo, migrants are seen in custody at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing area under the Anzalduas International Bridge, in Mission, Texas. U.S. authorities say they picked up nearly 19,000 children traveling alone across the Mexican border in March. It’s the largest monthly number ever recorded and a major test for President Joe Biden as he reverses many of his predecessor’s hardline immigration tactics. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — The Health and Human Service’s (HHS) Administration of Children and Families (ACF) released a statement on recent claims of sexual assault and other misconduct within migrant facilities.

The ACF stated it has a zero-tolerance policy in regards to misconduct and is investigating any incidents reported at its facilities.

“HHS takes its humanitarian mission seriously and while unaccompanied migrant children are in our care under the law, we strive to provide a safe space while they go through immigration proceedings,” said the release. “HHS has a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and inappropriate sexual behavior at all UC care provider facilities.”

The organization went on to list the protocol in place for when these types of reports are made.

Care providers are required to report any misconduct, suspend the employee involved, protect the victim, make notifications to parents or family members, and follow up with all investigative matters along with several other steps.

The sexual assault reports in question stem from a San Antonio facility set up for unaccompanied minors.

Among sexual assault are claims of bullying, understaffing, and disregard for COVID-19 protocols within the facility. 

Governor Greg Abbott called on the Biden administration to close the facility while the investigation continues.

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