Advertisement

Biden Administration Being Sued By Attorneys For Migrant Children

Advertisement

OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The Joe Biden administration is now being sued by attorneys who represent migrant children being held in Texas detention facilities.

The attorneys claimed that their clients suffered mental distress and “shockingly deplorable conditions,” The Daily Mail reported.

The lawsuit, filed on Monday in the US District Court in Los Angeles, singles out the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) emergency intake sites at the Fort Bliss Army base and Pecos.

The plaintiff’s attorneys cited the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement and its rules and protections of migrant children in federal custody.

There were 16,492 children migrant children under the department’s care as of Thursday. 

“Minimal standards and inadequate oversight at EISs has exposed thousands of children to unacceptable conditions that threaten their safety and well-being,” the lawsuit brought by the Center of Human Rights and Constitutional Law and National Center for Youth Law, said.

“In particular, the Fort Bliss and Pecos EISs have exposed children to shockingly deplorable conditions,” it said.

Advertisement

The suit said that the young migrants being held at the Pecos EIS are not allowed “religious services” and have “few daily activities, and what little outdoor recreation they do have takes place in unshaded areas where temperatures sometimes reach over 110 degrees.”

The attorneys have accused the Biden Administration of violating the Flores settlement which established a standard for caring for children.

The Department of Health and Human Services said it could not discuss the specifics of the case but said “we take our responsibility to provide safe, appropriate care for unaccompanied migrant children very seriously,” Fox News reported.

“Children at both sites have access to medical treatment, laundry service, they can call their family, they meet weekly with case managers, can access legal services and meet with mental and behavioral health counselors. We have increased case management services to unite children safely and expeditiously with family, while we continue to improve and streamline this process,” the spokesperson for the department said.

According to HHS, the Pecos EIS houses children for an average of 24 days, while the Fort Bliss EIS houses them for an average of 14 days. 

The lawsuit comes as the number of unaccompanied children immigration officers encountered at the border increased again in July. Officers encountered almost 19,000 children at the border, an increase of 24% over June.

The Biden administration has not been using Title 42 public health protections to expel unaccompanied children as it has been doing with single adults and some migrant families. Instead, it has focused on transferring children from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to HHS care, before they are released to a parent or sponsor already in the country.

This week leaked audio from Biden’s DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas showed him admitting that the border crisis is “unsustainable.”

Advertisement

“If our borders are the first line of defense, we’re going to lose, and this is unsustainable,” he said in audio.

“We can’t continue like this, our people in the field can’t continue and our system isn’t built for it,” he said.

Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs has introduced two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas.

In his articles of impeachment, Biggs accuses Mayorkas of having presiding over a “reckless abandonment” of border security since taking the helm at DHS.

“Certainly Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have a substantial amount of blame with this, they’re the ones who campaigned on this, but Mayorkas has not pushed back at all,” Biggs said.

Advertisement

“So he is the guy who is responsible for the border security and national security and it is a disaster down there. He has failed utterly in his duty,” he added.

The first article of impeachment accuses Mayorkas of having “engaged in a pattern of conduct that is incompatible with his duties as an Officer of the United States.”

“Secretary Mayorkas has failed to faithfully uphold his oath and has instead presided over a reckless abandonment of border security and immigration enforcement, at the expense of the Constitution and the security of the United States,” the first article says.

The resolution claims Mayorkas violated the Immigration and Nationality Act’s requirement that inadmissible migrants be processed under expedited removal and put into removal proceedings.

“The Secretary of Homeland Security does not have the option of simply releasing those aliens into the interior of the United States,” it says.

Advertisement
Test your skills with this Quiz!