Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Tom Cotton, John Boozman, and Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04) issued the following statement in response to the Department of Health and Human Service's notification that it could use the former Ouachita Job Corps Center in Royal, Arkansas, as a site to house unaccompanied minors in the United States illegally:
"The Department of Health and Human Services should not use the Ouachita facility to shelter unaccompanied illegal immigrant minors. This is irresponsible and against the wishes of Arkansans who were not consulted about this decision. HHS is unable to provide basic information about who may reside at this facility, where these immigrants come from, or how long this shelter will last, and the potential risk to public safety is enormous. That is why we are calling on HHS to immediately halt any plans to use this facility as an immigration shelter. There are safer options for this facility that would be better for the community and Arkansas."
A spokesperson said when these unaccompanied children are apprehended at U.S. borders, they are transferred to similar shelters within 72 hours. Children spend, on average, 35 days there under supervision at all times until they are released to an appropriate sponsor, who is typically a relative.Got it. The children will essentially be in a temporary internment camp. Perhaps that's the kind of branding necessary to make the idea more palatable to Cotton, Boozman and Westerman.
According to the spokesperson, these children do not attend school or integrate into the local community. He said the impact of these shelters on the local community is minimal.
Many of these children are fleeing violent situations in their home country and choose to leave rather than join a gang. They endure a long and dangerous journey to reach the border. When they are placed in a standard shelter, they are, as a rule, relieved to be in a safe and caring environment where they can wait for a sponsor to arrive to take custody.Can you think of a better time than Christmas for the Republican members of Congress to tell oppressed children to stick it where the sun don't shine?
Children served by the Office of Refugee Resettlement program do not integrate into the local community. They are not permitted to visit the local town or area attractions unless supervised by approved staff. Each staff member is required to maintain visibility on children at all times and know the exact location of each child.