WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) today released the following statement after Chattanooga police announced the arrest of an individual for sexual wrongdoing against a juvenile victim at a facility for unaccompanied migrant children in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services custody and the subsequent closure of that facility:
“The new criminal charge stemming from alleged sexual misconduct against an unaccompanied migrant child in federal HHS custody in Chattanooga is disturbing and heartbreaking. I commend and fully support law enforcement’s investigation to ensure that justice is done in this case and that any culpable actors are held accountable. For more than a month, my calls for greater transparency from the Secretary of Health and Human Services regarding the resettlement occurring at this facility and the well-being of the children there have gone unanswered. The answer received in the form of this tragic news demands an immediate, broader investigation to ensure the safety of the tens of thousands of children in HHS custody or being placed by HHS with sponsors in the United States. It is past time for the Biden Administration to take responsibility for the ongoing border crisis and its consequences, which I have been urging since January, and take real steps to protect both Americans and migrants by ending the crisis.”
In May, Hagerty, Blackburn, and Fleischmann sent a letter to the HHS and Department of Homeland Security Secretaries requesting transparency after reports that the Biden Administration had been transporting illegal unaccompanied minors to Tennessee. The Biden Administration has not responded to the letter.
Last week, Hagerty, Blackburn, and Fleischmann following up with a letter to Becerra demanding transparency with regard to the resettlement of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) across the United States and information regarding what steps are being taken to ensure these minors are properly cared for and checked on, placed with fit and qualified sponsors that can support them, and brought to their immigration hearings.
The Tennessee lawmakers also recently introduced the Migrant Resettlement Transparency Act, which requires the HHS Secretary and DHS Secretary to consult in advance with state and local officials of impacted jurisdictions regarding federally administered or funded migrant resettlement. It also requires the Administration to submit to Congress and governors a monthly, state-specific report regarding the resettlement, transportation, or relocation of illegal aliens.