Immigration Law

HHS OIG: Lack of Tornillo Staff FBI Background Checks, Low Number of Clinicians Pose 'Substantial Risks' to Detained Kids

HHS OIG, Nov. 27, 2018 - "The memorandum was issued in response to two significant vulnerabilities identified by OIG during a site visit to the influx care facility in Tornillo, Texas (Tornillo), a grantee of the Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) Program operated by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Specifically, OIG found that Tornillo is not conducting required Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprint background checks for staff working at Tornillo, instead using checks conducted by a private contractor that has access to less comprehensive data. Secondly, OIG found that Tornillo does not employ a sufficient number of staff clinicians to provide adequate mental health care for UAC. Both issues warrant immediate attention because they pose substantial risks to children receiving care at this facility.

OIG requested that ACF provide a written response as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days of the date of the memorandum, apprising OIG of the actions taken to ensure (1) employees at Tornillo are receiving FBI fingerprint background checks as required and (2) children's safety and well-being with respect to the insufficient clinician-to-child staffing ratios at Tornillo.

Copies can also be obtained by contacting the Office of Public Affairs at Public.Affairs@oig.hhs.gov.

Download the complete report."