AP NEWS

Thousands of illegal immigrant children face sexual abuse by other illegals in govt. shelters

February 26, 2019

Thousands of illegal immigrant children held by the federal government faced sexual abuse, usually at the hands of other illegal immigrant children, according to new statistics released Tuesday by a Democratic congressman.

Rep. Ted Deutch called the numbers “staggering,” and demanded changes to the way Unaccompanied Alien Children are detained after they are caught sneaking across the border, and before they can be placed with sponsors.

The children are held in dorms run by the Health and Human Services Department, which allow the children fairly free access creating situations where they are able to abuse each other or, less frequently, to face abuse at the hands of shelter staff or other adults

From October 2017 through July 2018 the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement, which oversees the illegal immigrant children, said it recorded 1,261 allegations of sexual abuse. Of those, 349 were perpetrated by one child on another, 49 were allegations of shelter staff abusing a child, and the rest were from folks either children or adults outside of the UAC program.

Just 412 allegations were reported to the Justice Department.

At least 1,000 reports of abuse were also recorded for every year from 2015 through 2017, the documents show.

Mr. Deutch, Florida Democrat, focused on the staff abuse, saying the numbers showed “an unsafe environment” at the government-run facilities.

The shelters are run on contract, with large charities usually operating the facilities under strict guidelines and supervision from HHS.

Detailed spreadsheets Mr. Deutch released from HHS data show the results of internal investigations.

In every case where a staff member was able to be identified and was an employee under government control or contract, he or she was suspended immediately.

In some cases, the employees were reinstated, but firing was the more usual course, according to the documents.

In a few cases, employees were allowed to return but not to work with UAC.

In one 2015 case, during the Obama administration, a UAC’s personal letters suggested an inappropriate relationship with a staffer at Heartland International Children’s Residential Center. The staffer was immediately terminated.

Sometimes the allegations against adults were determined to be malicious gossip spread by UACs, according to the data.