Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) sent a letter on Friday to Vice President Kamala Harris demanding the closure of a San Antonio housing facility for migrant children over allegations of child abuse.
According to Fox News, the letter Abbott sent included a memo from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission that listed details of the abuse and neglect allegations.
“The State of Texas previously warned about overcrowded conditions at these facilities, and now those conditions have led to allegations of child abuse and neglect,” Abbott said in the letter, according to Fox. “Our repeated warnings and questions have gone ignored by President Biden, yourself, and Department of Homeland Security Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas.”
Kamala the “Border Czar”
According to The Texas Tribune, Abbott added at a press conference Wednesday that the facility, which houses 1,300 teen migrants, “is a health and safety nightmare.”
“The Biden administration is now presiding over the abuse of children,” he charged.
In his letter, the governor told Harris: “In your role as Border Czar, you have a duty to these children and the American people to act immediately.”
Even though some of the allegations included sexual assault, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said there was no basis to the state’s allegations and that the facility would continue to operate.
According to Fox, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) responded to the allegations of abuse by issuing its own statement published late Friday, which read: “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, HHS has a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and inappropriate sexual behavior at all [unaccompanied child] care provider facilities.”
HHS also promised to “continue investigating any incidents affecting children’s health, well-being and safety and will take the proper measures including initiating employee disciplinary action, termination, and reporting to appropriate investigative entities, such as law enforcement agencies and relevant licensing bodies.”
“Out of control”
But Abbott was not assuaged by the administration’s rhetoric. “The crisis has spiraled out of control and grows worse by the minute,” the governor declared Friday, according to Fox.
In March alone, at least 18,890 unaccompanied minors entered the U.S. through the southern border, Fox noted. This is a record monthly total, and is likely to rise even higher in April.
Advocacy groups for the migrant children agreed with Abbott’s basic conclusions, but said the reports of abuse had been ongoing for long periods of time, and predated Biden’s tenure, according to The Texas Tribune.