HHS Secretary Alex Azar Says U.S. Shows “Generosity And Charity” By Detaining Migrant Children
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that his department was performing “one of the great acts of American generosity and charity” in its care of immigrant children. The interview comes as the administration by President Donald Trump continues to face backlash from Democratic and Republican lawmakers over its “zero tolerance” immigration policies.
Blitzer pressed Azar about the ban on media access to the detention centers, which has been the subject of controversy in recent weeks. “People all over the world are wondering what’s going on,” Blitzer said. Azar answered that he wants to be transparent. “We have nothing to hide about how we operate these facilities,” Azar said. “It is one of the great acts of American generosity and charity, what we are doing for these unaccompanied kids who are smuggled into our country or come across illegally.”
Many groups have criticized the conditions in which these children are being held in. But Azar pushed back against that notion, saying children are being kept in a “compassionate environment.”
“We have nothing to hide about how we operate these facilities … it is one of the great acts of American generosity and charity, what we are doing for these unaccompanied kids” HHS Secretary Alex Azar says https://t.co/FMtVbt3AsB pic.twitter.com/YEfLIpgMRg
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) 10 July 2018
Many officials have continued to question how Trump intends to reunite the thousands of families that were already separated. On Tuesday, the Department of Justice missed a court-ordered deadline to reunite all children under the age of 5 who were separated from their parents. Justice Department attorneys said that a total of 75 of the 102 children in custody of the HHS are eligible for reunification, according to The Hill. Some aren’t eligible to be reunited with their parents, either because some adults were determined to not be the parent of the child in question or because others have serious criminal histories.
A judge rejected a administration’s request to extend the deadline. The rest of the approximately 3000 separated children must be reunited with their parents by July 26.