October 1, 2018 Press Release

As HHS Relocates Hundreds of Children to Tent Cities That Lack Schools & Other Services Equity Forward Demands Azar Be Held Accountable   

10.01.18 – The New York Times reported yesterday that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) relocated hundreds of migrant children to tent cities under the cover of night in recent weeks.

The tent cities — which are located in West Texas and provide no schooling and limited access to legal services — stand in stark contrast to reassurances from HHS Chief Alex Azar, who has said migrant children in custody have been treated well and are being provided with an education.  In fact, Azar once claimed HHS was performing “one of the great acts of American generosity and charity” in its care of immigrant children.

“Once again Trump’s Health Department, run by Alex Azar,  has shown it was, and remains to this day, completely unprepared to handle the dire repercussions of these man-made crises,” said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward.

“Actions speak louder than words, and despite Azar’s claims to the contrary, the treatment of children in his department’s custody continues to be inexcusable, inhumane and seems to get worse as months grow into years for some of these children.  Some have already been ripped from their families, and now they are being shuttled in the dead of night to tents with questionable conditions and limited education opportunities.

“Even as the spotlight on this crisis dims, it’s vital Congress hold the Trump Administration, including HHS Chief Alex Azar, accountable.”

In August 2018, Equity Forward filed suit against HHS for public records related to how the agency planned to detain and shelter children separated from their parents at the border, with a specific focus on how the agency planned to use military installations and bases in Texas and Arkansas to potentially house children in tent cities.