Washington D.C. – On Saturday, Reps. Judy Chu (CA-27), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Mark Takano (CA-41), and Raul Ruiz (CA-36) visited the David and Margaret Youth and Family Services Facility, an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)-funded facility in Los Angeles County, which houses immigrant children who have been separated from their parents. Rep. Chu released the following statement:
“The children we met on this meaningful visit are just a few of the immigrant children in detention all across the country. In addition to getting to see these children and their living conditions first hand, this visit was important to highlight the absolute lack of planning by this administration before they started separating and detaining children. It’s clear that innocent children are being punished for the administration’s lack of planning.
“For instance, nobody knows why the children are being sent all over the country. Nor is there any assurance that they will meet the court ordered deadline to reunify these children with their families. In fact, it looks like reunification will be a long and difficult process. And it is clear that there is no plan at all to follow the Flores settlement, which prohibits the detention of children once these children are reunified.
“Despite being separated from their families, I was reassured by the quality of the care given to the children in this particular facility that we visited. However, it is important to remember that not all facilities are alike.
“And in places like Texas, immigrant children are being sent to tent cities or other facilities where children have come down with scabies and lice, as opposed to being released into communities where we know they can live safely and productively in the care of loved ones.
“And, while it’s true that this facility gives the children a third phone call with family for 20 minutes, as opposed to the typical two calls a week for ten minutes each, it is hard to see that as much of a silver lining. These children should already be with their families, not awaiting permission to speak with them by phone.
“The solution we all hoped would come quickly is being delayed and thwarted by this Administration’s cruelty and incompetence. And so it will fall to Congress to perform our oversight responsibilities. I will continue to be vigilant and monitor the treatment of these immigrants to make sure the children are taken care of adequately and quickly.”