Virginia Dems want answers on alleged detention center abuse

Virginia Dems want answers on alleged detention center abuse

Virginia Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerIntelligence chief says Congress will get some in-person election security briefings Overnight Defense: Trump hosts Israel, UAE, Bahrain for historic signing l Air Force reveals it secretly built and flew new fighter jet l Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to 'forever chemicals' House approves bill to secure internet-connected federal devices against cyber threats MORE (D) and Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineBiden promises Democratic senators help in battleground states Second GOP senator to quarantine after exposure to coronavirus The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep MORE (D) are asking the Department of Health and Human Services for answers following an explosive Associated Press report detailing abuse allegations against a detention facility in their state.

The lawmakers in a letter to the acting assistant secretary of the Administration for Children and Family Services requested additional information about complaints filed against guards and employees at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center.

“As you can imagine, our concerns stem from the fact that your agency is tasked with caring for unaccompanied immigrant youths after DHS apprehends them for unlawful entry,” Kaine and Warner wrote to Acting Assistant Secretary Steven Wagner.

“Though we understand that these alleged abuses took place at a locally-operated facility, your agency ultimately has oversight and must ensure that these facilities comply with standards for when and how to physically engage these youths.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The senators also asked for a sit-down meeting with Wagner.

The AP on Thursday reported that a lawsuit filed against the facility includes abuse allegations from young Latino migrants, some of whom were detained for years. The immigrants say they were placed in solitary confinement and faced beatings at the center.

While the report noted that the migrants were not among the children recently separated from their families at the border, the news comes as the Trump administration faces the fallout from its “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

Kaine and Warner asked Wagner if any of the young migrants were transported to the center due to separations resulting from the "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

While President TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE on Wednesday signed an executive order permitting families to remain together, the administration is still dealing with widespread public backlash against the policy.

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump's policies on refugees are as simple as ABCs Ocasio-Cortez, Velázquez call for convention to decide Puerto Rico status White House officials voted by show of hands on 2018 family separations: report MORE in April had unveiled the policy when he directed the Justice Department to prioritize the criminal prosecution of individuals who try to unlawfully cross the southern border. That policy caused the separation of children from their families when the adults faced prosecution.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are grappling with compromise immigration legislation in the House after a more hard-lined bill failed Thursday in the lower chamber.