Sens. Ossoff, Blackburn Launch Inquiry into Reports of Dangerous Conditions for Children in CBP Custody

Last month, Sen. Ossoff inspected the Paso del Norte port of entry, the area of operations for Border Patrol’s El Paso station, & detention facilities

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senate Human Rights Subcommittee Chairman Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Ranking Member Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) are launching a bipartisan inquiry to protect the human rights of children in Federal detention facilities.

Today, Sens. Ossoff and Blackburn launched a bipartisan inquiry with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about reports of dangerous conditions for vulnerable children who are being held at the border awaiting processing in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities.

“Secure borders keep Georgia’s and Tennessee’s families safe. Strengthening border security requires vast resources, order, and humanity to help vulnerable children navigate an uncertain process,” the Senators wrote to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “Protecting the human rights of children is both a moral and legal imperative, and border enforcement must be humane.”

Public reporting in recent years has highlighted dangerous conditions for children in CBP custody, including reported deaths, abuse, and medical neglect.

DHS’s Office of the Inspector General has found repeated violations of both the CBP National Standards on Transport, Escort, Detention, and Search and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, including overcrowding in holding facilities; holding unaccompanied children for longer than 72 hours; failing to adequately separate children from unrelated members of the opposite sex while in federal detention or custody; and failing to provide children with showers, hygiene products, and clean bedding.

As part of the Subcommittee’s inquiry, Sens. Ossoff and Blackburn requested from DHS specific information and documents about the conditions at holding facilities for children in CBP custody.

Last month in Texas and New Mexico, Sen. Ossoff inspected the Paso del Norte port of entry, the area of operations for Border Patrol’s El Paso station, and detention facilities. He also met with U.S. law enforcement and national security officials and Mexican law enforcement officials in Juarez, Mexico.

Sens. Ossoff and Blackburn continue working to protect the human rights of children.

Last month, President Biden signed into law Sens. Ossoff and Blackburn’s bipartisan REPORT Act, which will — for the first time — require websites and social media platforms to report crimes involving Federal trafficking and enticement of children to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Last fall, the Subcommittee held a series of hearings about the human rights of foster children, and last summer, the Subcommittee convened a hearing to explore the implications of artificial intelligence for human rights, including for children being exploited by extortion schemes.

Last summer, Sens. Ossoff and Blackburn called on Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice to increase resources needed to prosecute cases involving the creation of child sex abuse material (CSAM) through artificial intelligence technology.

Click aquí to read Sens. Ossoff and Blackburn’s inquiry to Secretary Mayorkas.

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