Brooks Visits U.S. – Mexico Border to Tour Immigration Facilities
WASHINGTON, DC – On Monday, July 9, 2018, Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) joined a bipartisan group of members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to tour facilities where children and adults are detained at the U.S. – Mexico border.
“Yesterday, I visited a number of federal immigration facilities in Texas in order to get a first-hand look and better understanding of our country’s immigration process and family reunification efforts,” said Brooks. “I was encouraged to learn more about the procedures in place, which provide migrant children and families who have come to the United States – Mexico border with safety, shelter, food, medical care, clothing and other basic necessities as their immigration status is pending.”
“I was overwhelmed by the number of children who have come to our borders, some with families but the large majority are unaccompanied children under the age of 18,” continued Brooks. “I remain committed to ensuring children are reunited with their families as quickly as possible and will continue to advocate for an immigration system that is fair and reflects American values. I appreciate the hard work of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement and applaud their compassion and diligence in protecting and caring for these children and those held in their care.”
The Homeland Security Act of 2002 established a definition of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) and divided responsibilities for the processing and treatment of UAC between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The law assigned HHS responsibilities including coordinating and implementing the care and placement of UAC in appropriate custody, reunifying UAC with their parents abroad (if appropriate), maintaining and publishing a list of legal services available to UAC and collecting statistical information on UAC.
Congresswoman Brooks recently joined Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans to send HHS a letter regarding the ORR program and the management, treatment and reunification of unaccompanied alien children. The letter followed the adoption of an amendment at a #SubHealth markup. The amendment, which passed by a unanimous 29-0 vote, required weekly reports to the committee and a formal strategy regarding the HHS’ efforts to reunite these children with their families, in addition to addressing challenges previously identified by the committee.
Additionally, Brooks along with Congressmen Fred Upton (R-MI) and Michael Burgess (R-TX), led a letter to officials at HHS inquiring about, and advocating for, innovative solutions, specifically DNA testing, to ensure proper swift reunifications for families separated at the U.S. – Mexico border. To read the letter, click here.