Rep. Ruben Gallego Calls for DHS Inspector General Investigation into Reported Mistreatment of Migrant Children in Phoenix
WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) wrote to the Department of Homeland Security’s Acting Inspector General, requesting an immediate investigation into reports that minor children detained at the U.S. Mexico border were inappropriately held in an office building in Phoenix.
According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, that building was not licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services to provide child care – a possible violation of Arizona state law. In addition, the building apparently has darkened windows, limited toilets and no bedrooms, showers, or outdoor play areas.
Rep. Gallego urged the Inspector General to investigate whether any state or local laws or agency policies were violated in holding the children at an ill-equipped office building. He also requested an examination of the standards ICE has established to govern the conditions in which migrant children are held during transport to Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelters, and information regarding ICE’s oversight of companies charged with housing and transporting these children.
Rep. Gallego also sent a letter to Kevin Marquez, CEO of MVM, Inc., the company that leased the building in question. Rep. Gallego requested additional information from MVM, including the nature of the accommodations, how long the children were held, and whether the company has future plans to house children in this building or at similar locations in the Phoenix area.