North Carolina Republicans ‘frustrated’ over ‘lack of transparency’ at new migrant facility

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FIRST ON FOX: The North Carolina Republican congressional delegation says it is “frustrated” by what it describes as a lack of transparency regarding the opening of a migrant facility in the state, arguing that they have been unable to get information about its operations.

The lawmakers say in a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra that they were told on March 1 that the Greensboro Influx Care Facility, where unaccompanied minors will be housed before being transferred into the care of a sponsor, will be operational on March 15. The letter is led by Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., and also includes the signatures of other North Carolina Republicans, including Sen. Thom Tillis, Rep. Virginia Foxx and Sen. Ted Budd.

Unaccompanied children are typically moved from Border Patrol custody to HHS care when they are encountered at the southern border as they are moved through the country to be put into the care of sponsors.

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“Our offices were notified late afternoon on Friday, March 1, 2024, despite repeated, outstanding requests for answers about plans for operationalizing the facility,” they write. “We are frustrated by this sudden announcement and the [HHS] lack of transparency to Congress and the State of North Carolina related to this issue.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra testifies during a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill, Nov. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

They say they have requested information regarding site selection, contracts, services and plans to ensure the well-being of the minors, as well as the impact on surrounding areas. 

Fox reported in 2022 that the administration had signed a five-year contract to begin leasing the site – an abandoned school. City officials at the time said the site was “about doing the right thing for these children.”

But the lawmakers say there has been a lack of transparency in response to their queries.

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“While we have continued to push for information about this facility, we have consistently faced significant delays in responses to our inquiries,” they say.

“This delay and lack of transparency have left us with continued concerns about whether the facility is fit for operation,” they go on to say, adding that one concern is that the facility is being operationalized even while changing who contracts for services.

Fox 8 reported that officials have said children will not immediately be housed there, despite it being operational. It reported that HHS has previously told officials in 2022 that arrivals will be given assessments, medical exams, daily education, counseling, case management, contact with family members and access to legal services. Fox News Digital reached out to HHS on the matter.

Becerra split image

Lawmakers say they have requested information regarding site selection, contracts, services and plans to ensure the well-being of the minors from Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. (Getty Images)

The lawmakers’ letter comes amid furious debate over the three-year crisis at the southern border. The administration has said it needs more funding and comprehensive immigration reform from Congress, including a recent bipartisan Senate bill. Republicans have said it is the administration’s policies that have increased the number of migrants being encountered at the border.

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“It is unacceptable that the Biden administration’s failed immigration policies have resulted in a humanitarian crisis for migrants and the need for an ICF at all. We are particularly concerned about the need for a facility 2,000 miles away from the border in North Carolina,” they say, calling on the administration to “take action to secure our border and address the crisis of unaccompanied minor migration with real solutions.”

Fox News’ Bill Melugin contributed to this report.

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