Most of the unaccompanied minors arriving at U.S. borders come with a phone number in their pocket of a purported custodian to take them in, something that ultimately allows the vast majority to stay in the country, Rep. Jim Bridenstine told Newsmax TV
"When they call that phone number, once they're in the custody of HHS (Health and Human Services) … they are then released to whoever is on the other end of that phone. They call it a custodian, they're released to that custodian who supposedly will bring them back for a court date, but ultimately 90 percent of them never come back for a court date. So these HHS facilities are really nothing more than in-processing facilities for illegal immigration."
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During a visit to Fort Sill on July 1, the Oklahoma Republican was denied access to an immigrant holding facility
on the post. Bridenstine informed a security guard there that he was a Congressman as well as a member of the House Armed Services Committee but was referred to the deputy director of communications for Health and Human Services, but could not get past the secretary, who repeatedly told him to email any questions. He could visit the facility on July 21, he was told.
He has criticized the administration’s lack of transparency, allowing only "showcased, preplanned and managed tours" of a holding facility, such as one scheduled for Tuesday in Texas.
"We should have unfettered access," he said. "We should be allowed to talk to the personnel that work there as well as the contract personnel, and certainly, we should be able to bring our staff. We should be able to bring interpreters, pediatricians, to talk with the children and it would make sense that as these stories are unfolding about the abuse and in many cases rape of the children who have attempted to come here. We need to make sure that these stories of human tragedy are being told."
President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $2 billion to deal with the crisis, but according to Bridenstine, he has yet to say exactly where the money would be spent. He suspects the money might be earmarked to "expand this illegal immigration in-processing facility."
"Is the $2 billion going to be used to in-process more illegal aliens or is it going to be used to secure the border and quickly and rapidly enforce the border? The answer is nobody knows."
He predicted that the administration will draft a bill, bring it to the floor and force a vote within hours or days "and nobody's going to know what's in it, which seems to be what's been going on here recently."
Bridenstine wants the border secured and a message sent to the world that the United States does not have porous borders.
"We need to let people know that if you come you can't stay and if you come to the border you're not going to get across," he urged. "Ultimately, the humanitarian thing to do is secure the border."
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