Napa – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) sent the following letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar following the Department’s decision to deny his request to visit children detention facilities in our region despite following HHS’ protocol. Thompson has been attempting to visit these facilities to check on the well-being of recently separated children under the Administration’s so-called “zero tolerance policy” and to ensure their prompt reunification with their families. Text of the letter is as followed:
The Honorable Alex Azar II
Secretary of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Dear Secretary Azar:
I made a request to the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to see local facilities housing immigrant children, including children who were separated from their parents at the President’s behest under his so-called “zero tolerance policy.” I rearranged my schedule and fully complied with your Department’s required protocols, including providing the required two weeks’ notice, even though I believe that these rules are completely unnecessary.
It is unacceptable that you have denied my request and are doing a bureaucratic shuffle aimed at covering up the tragedies of the President’s policy of separating undocumented families. What are you trying to hide? What is it that you don’t want the American people to see? This cover-up is an injustice and an affront to our American values. HHS must open its doors and stop hiding from congressional scrutiny.
My constituents and the American public deserve to know what is being done with these separated children and that they are being well cared for by your Department. As important, they need to be reunified with their families as quickly possible. I want to know that HHS is living up to our American values when it comes to the caring for these separated children, and I want to see these facilities with my own eyes. This is a matter of the utmost importance and urgency to our country, and neither I nor my constituents will be satisfied with HHS’ attempts to block or delay tours of these facilities. As soon as possible, I request that I be allowed to visit these facilities as requested. I await your approval of my request.
Member of Congress
Thompson followed the prescribed HHS protocol, which required two weeks’ notice, and submitted the required paperwork on June 25, 2018 in order to visit children detention facilities in our region on July 9, 2018. Thompson’s facility tour requests has been denied, and multiple requests to speak to Secretary Azar have been rejected.