Fleischmann Urges HHS to Reverse Course Following Troubling Reports on Background Check Policies

March 31, 2021
Press Release
CHATTANOOGA, TN — U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03), the Ranking Member on the Homeland Security Subcommittee on the House Appropriations Committee, urged the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, to reverse course on the department’s decision to send migrant children to sponsors before background checks are completed. He also urged the secretary to reverse the department's decision to no longer require staff at migrant holding facilities to pass an FBI background check. 
Dear Secretary Becerra: 
I write to you to express my concerns regarding a report from the Wall Street Journal that stated that unaccompanied migrant children, who crossed the border illegally and are currently held in HHS shelters, would be released “before sponsors’ background checks have been completed.” 
Along with this information, it’s been recently reported that HHS is “[N]o longer requiring staff at migrant holding facilities to pass an FBI background check to work there.” 
You may remember that in 2016, a Senate report found that the Department of Health and Human Services under President Obama “[P]laced more than a dozen immigrant children in the custody of human traffickers after it failed to conduct background checks of caregivers.” 
It is jarring that the Biden administration has not learned from the mistakes of the past. I am greatly concerned by these deeply troubling reports and I hope the agency will reverse course on these policies to ensure that they are not further endangering these migrant children.