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IG Report bombshell: Workers at HHS child migrant centers unvetted for sex offense, child abuse history

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A federal watchdog  report revealed horrifying information that migrant emergency holding centers hurriedly opened by the Office of Refugee Resettlement “to accommodate a Biden-era surge of unaccompanied minors at the southern border have been lax in vetting employees for child abuse and neglect and sexual offenses” reports Just The News.

The Office of Inspector General report comes out swinging with its audit titled: “The Office of Refugee Resettlement Needs To Improve Its Practices for Background Checks During Influxes.” One such influx is about to erupt as the Trump era Title 42 border policy expires.

“Our objective was to determine whether ORR’s ICF and EISs conducted required background checks on employees” the report states under the headline “Why OIG Did This Audit.” The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) visited an influx care facility (ICF) and 10 emergency intake sites (EIS) opened to shelter “an unprecedented number of unaccompanied children” arriving at the border under President Biden to determine whether the facilities were complying with required background checks on employees.

According to the report:

  • FBI fingerprint checks were “not conducted or documented” for 174 of 229 EIS employees, while another 25 were “conducted but not in a timely manner.” Only 30 were “conducted in a timely manner.”
  • Background checks for child abuse and neglect were not conducted for 200 of 229 EIS employees, with 20 conducted but not promptly, and only 9 conducted promptly. “For 51 of the 200 employees, ORR had waived the Child Abuse and Neglect (CA/N) check requirement,” the report noted.

Federal regulations explicitly prohibit ORR — tasked with the “care and placement” of unaccompanied migrant children (UAC) — from “hiring or enlisting the services” of anyone to work with children if they have any documented history of sexual misconduct. However, the ORR is allowed to “waive or modify” background checks so long as it’s “for good cause,” like an emergency.

Of a required 78 sex offender registry checks, 42 were “not conducted or documented,” and another 11 were “conducted but not in a timely manner,” according to the report. Less than a third, 25, were “conducted in a timely manner.”

According to the Assistant Regional Inspector General Sylvie Witten, the ORR “did not waive the DOJ sex offender registry check” and many were not vetted through it despite being “required.”

“The waivers ORR issued to the three EISs waived the FBI fingerprint check and CA/N check,” Witten told Just The News. “For the three EISs with a waiver, ORR required a sex offender registry check (in addition to the public records check required of EISs).

Witten also said the sex offender registry check was an “added requirement” put in place by the ORR “for the three emergency intake sites.” Those same sited were waived from the FBI fingerprint checks and the Child Abuse and Neglect checks.

The New York Times reported in February that HHS has lost track of “more than 85,000 children” after they were placed with loosely vetted sponsors.

Under the headline “What OIG Recommends and Administration for Children and Families Comments” the report states:

We recommend that ORR take the following actions related to background checks: (1) ensure required background checks are conducted on current employees for whom checks were not conducted, (2) clarify and reissue guidance, (3) include a review of each facility’s compliance as part of ORR’s routine site visit monitoring, and (4) ensure that future awards and subawards for services that involve children include detailed information on required background checks.

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Immigration

BREAKING: Senate votes down both articles of impeachment against Mayorkas in party-line vote

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The Senate voted down two articles of impeachment Wednesday which alleged Department of Homeland Security Secretary  Alejandro Mayorkas engaged in the “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” regarding the southern border in his capacity as DHS secretary. The second claimed Mayorkas had breached public trust.

What resulted in a party-line vote, began with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., proposing a point of order declaring the first article unconstitutional, to which the majority of senators agreed following several failed motions by Republicans. The article was deemed unconstitutional by a vote of 51-48, with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, voting present.

Fox News reports:

Schumer’s point of order was proposed after his request for unanimous consent, which would have provided a set amount of time for debate among the senators, as well as votes on two GOP resolutions and a set amount of agreed upon points of order, was objected to by Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo.

Schmitt stated in his objection that the Senate should conduct a full trial into the impeachment articles against Mayorkas, rather than the debate and points of order suggested by Schumer’s unanimous consent request, which would be followed by a likely successful motion to dismiss the articles. 

Republican senators took issue with Schumer’s point of order, as agreeing to it would effectively kill the first of the two articles. Several GOP lawmakers proposed motions, which took precedence over the point of order, to adjourn or table the point, among other things. But all GOP motions failed. 

After another batch of motions to avoid voting on Schumer’s second point of order, which would deem the second article unconstitutional, the Senate agreed to it. The vote was along party lines 51-49, with Murkowski rejoining the Republicans. 

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