October 12, 2018 Press Release

ICYMI:  WaPo Confirms HHS Lied About Existence of Central Database During Child Separation Crisis

Equity Forward Demands Answers from HHS Chief Alex Azar

10.12.18 – Earlier today, The Washington Post confirmed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) lied to the public when it claimed it had a “central database” with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to share information about children ripped from their parents during the family separation crisis.

Specifically, in a June press release — as outrage about the cruel policy was reaching its peak — HHS proudly cited the joint database as evidence that the crisis was under control.  The release clearly stated, “there is a central database which HHS and DHS can access and update when a parent(s) or minor(s) location information changes.”

Yet DHS’ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) could find no evidence of such a database, noting “DHS has since acknowledged to the OIG that there is no ‘direct electronic interface’ between DHS and HHS tracking systems.”

Notably, three days after the press release was issued touting the non-existent database, HHS Chief Alex Azar boasted in front of a Senate committee that he could find every child in custody “within seconds.”

“If Secretary Azar is willing to play fast and loose with the truth when it comes to keeping track of children cruelly ripped from their families, where else is he not being factual?” said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward

“This revelation – that HHS lied when it claimed to have a central database for locating separated children – is further evidence that Congress must hold accountable Azar and others who have overseen the family separation crisis.  It’s unacceptable that HHS would keep the truth from the public on such a vital issue. Today, HHS claims more than 300 children are still in their custody, but how can we even believe them and their numbers anymore? Congress must get answers from HHS Chief Azar on this ongoing national humanitarian crisis.”