HHS Sec. Alex Azar Falsely Claims Any Immigrant Parent Can Find Their Imprisoned Child
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Alex Azar falsely claimed in front of a Senate hearing that every parent has “access to know where their child is” after the Trump administration forcibly separated them:
There is no reason why any parent would not know where their child is located. I sat on the ORR (Office of Refugee Resettlement) portal, with just basic key strokes and within seconds could find any child in our care for any parent available.
Contrary to Azar’s claim, lawyers for immigrant parents told ThinkProgress that a majority of parents had “no idea” where their kids were.
Eileen Blessinger, a Virginia-based immigration attorney, said that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ORR don’t even share the same computer databases:
My understanding is that DHS has to reach out to ORR to get the information. DHS and HHS] are not sharing databases and not notifying ORR when they move a child.
Sophia Gregg, a lawyer with the Legal Aid Justice Center, said approximately 50 parents who spoke to her had “no idea where their child was located”:
The 1-800 number doesn’t work. No one answers the phone. No one has gotten through.