Luttrell Sends Letter to HHS Blasting Failure to Protect Unaccompanied Children

Luttrell Sends Letter to HHS Blasting Failure to Protect Unaccompanied Children

Joshua Smith
Joshua Smith
April 9, 2024

Texas Congressman Morgan Luttrell (R) recently sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and to the Refugee Resettlement Director Robin Dunn Marcos regarding the Office of Refugee Settlement’s (ORR) failure to properly protect unaccompanied children following a report issued by the United States HHS Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG).

“This state of disarray has led ORR to cut corners in ensuring appropriate sponsor vetting. In a rush to move children out of government custody, caseworkers are passing off countless minors into the hands of unproperly vetted sponsors with news reports revealing unaccompanied migrant children falling into instances of exploitation, trafficking, and working in dangerous jobs that violate child labor laws,” said Rep. Luttrell concerning the improper attention to the safety and well-being of the unaccompanied children.

Rep. Luttrell highlighted the large amount of children’s files that were missing the proper safety paperwork.

“More specifically, the HHS-OIG report revealed 16 percent of unaccompanied children’s case files were absent of documentation indicating one or more required safety checks for sponsors were conducted. Furthermore, ORR also failed to conduct timely Safety and Well-Being Follow Up Calls in 22 percent of cases with 19 percent of children being released to sponsors with pending fingerprint check or child abuse and neglect registry check,” concluded the Texas representative.

The congressman previously worked to stop human trafficking by introducing legislation. In July 2023, Luttrell issued the Stop Human Trafficking of Unaccompanied Migrant Children Act.

The bill would require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the HHS to take necessary steps when placing an unaccompanied child—who is not a U.S. citizen—with a potential sponsor inside the U.S. Luttrell pointed to reports that showed “HHS had been unable to contact 85,000 children in the past two years.”

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Joshua Smith

Joshua Smith

Joshua Smith is a writer and recent graduate, majoring in English.

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