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Thousands of migrant youths report abuse in US custody

Thousands of migrant youths report abuse in US custody
Health and Human Services received over 4,500 complaints of sexual abuse from November 2014 through September 2018

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - Thousands of migrant youths reported being abused while in U.S. custody, according to documents released by Rep. Ted Deutch's office Tuesday.

In all, the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, received more than 4,500 complaints of sexual abuse from unaccompanied minors from November 2014 through September 2018.

Over 1,300 of those cases were reported to the Justice Department for further investigation.

The documents came in response to a request by the House Judiciary Committee in January.

"These HHS documents detail a staggering number of sexual assaults on unaccompanied children in their custody," Deutch, the committee chairman, said in a statement.

"With the number of allegations each year roughly breaking down to one sexual assault per week for the last three years, clearly this Administration is not equipped to keep these children safe inside their facilities."

The revelation comes as President Donald Trump presses a hardline approach to immigration, including his "zero tolerance" push that resulted in the separation of migrant children from their parents.

Thousands of children were separated before the administration was forced to revise its policy to allow parents to be detained alongside their children while they await legal proceedings.

One document released by Deutch's office includes reports of 178 allegations of sexual assault being made against adult staffers at detention centers. The allegations include groping, kissing, relationships with minors, and verbal sexual assault.

HHS said in a statement after the documents’ release that the care of minors "is our top concern".

"Each of our grantees running standard shelters is licensed by the respective state for child care services. In addition to other rigorous standards put in place by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) at HHS’ Administration for Children and Families, background checks of all facility employees are mandatory," spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley said in a statement.

source: News Feed
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