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Congressman Ruben Gallego

Representing the 7th District of Arizona

Rep. Ruben Gallego Demands Investigation into Reports of Physical and Sexual Abuse of Migrant Children

August 1, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Inspector General, requesting an immediate investigation into reports of widespread physical and sexual abuse of migrant children in federal custody.

News reports recently described repeated instances of physical and sexual abuse suffered by a six-year-old girl while detained in an immigration detention facility operated by Southwest Key in Glendale, just outside Phoenix, Arizona. Nationally, ProPublica has obtained reports through public records laws of allegations of abuse at 70 of the approximately 100 Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelters, revealing “dozens of incidents of unwanted groping and indecent exposure.”

Rep. Gallego urged the Inspector General to investigate whether Southwest Key and other contractors that operate these shelters are complying with relevant laws requiring reporting of sexual abuse to law enforcement authorities, and whether the shelters meet all relevant childcare regulations and standards intended to prevent abuse. He also requested a review of the procedures that HHS follows when sexual abuse is alleged at one of these facilities.

The full letter can be found here.