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HHS Bars Congressman from Seeing Immigrant Children



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A Health and Human Services official refused to allow a member of Congress to enter a facility in his district where some of the unaccompanied immigrant children are being housed.

Representative Jim Bridenstine (R., Okla.) was told he could schedule an appointment for July 21. “​What are they trying to hide?” Bridenstine said after the incident. “​Do they not want the children to speak with Members of Congress? As a Navy pilot, I have been involved in operations countering illicit human trafficking. I would like to know to whom these children are being released.”

There are 1,200 immigrant children at the base. Bridenstine’s office explained that HHS releases the children to a “sponsor” in the United States. The congressman said that a security guard at the Fort Sill, Okla., facility refused to let him enter the barracks without HHS approval even though he is a member of Congress.

“There is no excuse for denying a federal representative from Oklahoma access to a federal facility in Oklahoma where unaccompanied children are being held,” Bridenstine said in the press release. “Any Member of Congress should have the legal authority to visit a federal youth detention facility without waiting three weeks.”



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