Grassley launches probe to find out if HHS has been placing illegal minors in homes with ties to MS-13

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has launched an investigation earlier this week into reports that illegal unaccompanied migrant minors are being placed by HHS into homes with ties to the brutal MS-13 gang.

According to a news release from Grassley’s office, the senator is “conducting a sweeping review of potential abuse within the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) program for placing unaccompanied alien children with U.S.-based sponsors.”

“Grassley is seeking answers from nine HHS contractors and grantees regarding legally protected whistleblower disclosures that allege widespread mismanagement in the unaccompanied children (UC) program, which may have endangered vulnerable minors entrusted to the government’s care,” it states.

“There’s a critical need for this scrutiny given significant evidence that the safety and well-being of unaccompanied children has been compromised by HHS, [Office of Refugee Resettlement], and in some cases the contractors and grantees to whom these children were entrusted,” Grassley wrote in a statement.

“It is essential that recipients of taxpayer money provide a full accounting to Congress and the American people with respect to how that money has been used,” he continued. “That requirement is particularly heightened regarding the critical issue of caring for children and preventing evil actors from turning their young lives into a living hell through human smuggling and trafficking for sex or forced labor.”

In the letters, the senator reveals that his office “has been informed through legally-protected whistleblower disclosures, including contractor records, showing children were sponsored without proper vetting or care, and at addresses that may be part of possible child-smuggling or trafficking rings.”

“Shockingly,” Grassley wrote, “children were even placed by HHS and one of its contractors after they were notified of likely MS-13 gang affiliation in the household, and records related to this placement appear to have been deleted, a possible attempt to cover up actions taken by the contractor and HHS.”

The letters were sent to Deloitte Consulting LLP, Center for Family Services, General Information Dynamics Technology, Alba Care Services, Holy Family Institute, Global Refuge, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Morrison Child and Family Services, and Sunny Glen Children’s Home.

“Given this disturbing information, on January 23, 2024, I alerted federal law enforcement agents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to evidence of suspected criminal activity and called for immediate action to find and rescue as many children as possible,” the senator told the contractors.

“I expect your cooperation in this effort,” he stated. “It is our moral duty to do all we can to rescue children who may have endured sexual abuse or forced labor.”

According to Grassley, a recently released HHS’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) report “found children were released to sponsors before FBI fingerprint or state child abuse and neglect registry checks were completed and that nearly 1 in 5 of those files were never updated with the results.”

“In one in six cases, one or more required sponsor safety checks either weren’t conducted or documented,” he continued. “And even more troubling, in more than a third of cases, HHS and its contractors didn’t ensure sponsor-provided identity documents were fully legible.”

“If anything,” he stated, “the records in my possession, which cover a longer period of time and a far greater number of children than the OIG reviewed, paint an even more troubling picture of ORR’s failure to protect the children entrusted to it.”

Melissa Fine

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