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Pallone Requests GAO Audit to Ensure Separated Children Are Reunited with Families

Jun 21, 2018
Press Release
“I am asking that GAO begin this initial work immediately to evaluate how these agencies are tracking these children, so that Congress can be informed on what systems can or should be used to reunite these children with their families.”

Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) today requesting an immediate audit of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to track and reunite children that were separated from their families because of the Trump Administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy.

Between April 6, 2018 and June 20, 2018,DHS separated 2,342 child migrants from their parents and placed them into the custody of HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The parents have been referred to DHS and the Department of Justice (DOJ), while the children have been classified as “unaccompanied minors” and placed into the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

“While I hope that President Trump’s June 20 Executive Order will put an end to this immoral practice, that Order is entirely prospective, and does not speak to how the Administration will reunite the 2,342 children already separated from their families," Pallone wrote to GAO. “To bring accountability and ensure these children are properly accounted for and ultimately reunited with their families, Congress needs an immediate assessment of the systems or processes by which ORR and DHS are tracking each minor in their care, as well as their respective parents or guardians from whom they were separated.”

As part of the audit, Pallone is asking GAO to answer a series of questions including what formal processes are in place to track each child in the Administration’s custody, whether there is a process to effectively match each child with his or her family, and whether there have been any instances of the Administration failing to properly track and match children with their families.

Letter available HERE