In the letter, Abbott included a memo by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission that outlined examples of child abuse and neglect.
“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. “Our repeated warnings and questions have gone ignored by President Biden, yourself, and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas.”
“In your role as Border Czar, you have a duty to these children and the American people to act immediately,” he added.
The Biden administration has said it will not shut down the San Antonio facility, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there was “no basis” for Abbott’s demands, despite allegations of sexual assault.
The Department of Health and Human Services issued a statement late Friday:
“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 UC care provider facilities. We will 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.”
On Wednesday, Abbott announced that two different Texas government agencies had been sent complaints alleging four different kinds of child abuse. He outlined those concerns in his letter to the vice president.
“The complaints include allegations of sexual assault, a shortage of staff to properly supervise the children inside the facility, and that the children in the facility are not eating throughout the day,” the letter said. “The complaints also allege that children who have COVID-19 are exposed to other children.”
Abbott furiously condemned the Biden administration’s lack of preparedness for not only mass migration but for the vast number of unaccompanied minors who have crossed the border in recent weeks.
“The crisis has spiraled out of control and grows worse by the minute,” Abbott alleged Friday.
March saw the highest monthly intake of unaccompanied migrant children on record, with 18,890 new arrivals.
Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.
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