Judicial Watch announced on Tuesday that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for records related to the transportation of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 1:22-cv-03044)).
The lawsuit was filed after HHS failed to respond to a May 20, 2021, FOIA request by Judicial Watch to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF is a component of HHS) for:
- All documents related to the preparation and logistics involved in the transportation of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) to and from Chattanooga’s Wilson Air Center on May 14, 2021.
- All ACF officials’ internal email communications related to the transportation of UACs to and from Chattanooga’s Wilson Air Center on May 14, 2021.
In a May 26, 2021, letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Tennessee Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty, along with Tennessee Congressman Chuck Fleischmann wrote:
We write to seek information on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) management of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) in federal custody and the facilities used to house them. We are particularly concerned about recent reports regarding the use of Chattanooga, Tennessee, as a central location for resettling UACs in the United States.
There are media reports that, within the last week, at least four planes carrying UACs landed at Wilson Air Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, before swiftly boarding the children onto buses and transporting them to multiple cities across the southeastern United States for apparent resettlement, with zero transparency regarding what was happening. For months, reports have detailed how thousands of children are being housed in neglectful conditions at mass shelters operated by HHS under a veil of secrecy. We are deeply troubled by the lack of transparency and accountability regarding the conditions that HHS is subjecting these children to.
Several governors, including Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee, have written to President Biden expressing alarm over how the federal government has circumvented state authorities by placing UACs in their states’ facilities with little transparency, consent, or coordination.
“The Biden administration is hiding information on how it aids and abets the trafficking of unaccompanied alien children,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We aim to expose and hold accountable the Biden administration for its trafficking of countless children.”
Judicial Watch has delved extensively into the tragedy of Unaccompanied Alien Children.
In August 2022, Judicial Watch revealed that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) busted hundreds of adult illegal aliens posing as minors to dodge deportation. El Paso Border Patrol Sector reported it had seen an unusual amount of activity involving adults posing as minors to dodge deportation. In El Paso alone, CBP confirmed that more than 655 adult migrants posing as minors have been arrested in fiscal year 2022.
In September 2021, Judicial Watch received records from the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement that list 33 separate incidences of alleged sexual abuse against UACs in a one-month time period.
In July 2018, after a three-year delay, Judicial Watch obtained records containing nearly 1,000 summaries of Significant Incident Reports (SIRs) from HHS revealing that UACs processed during the Obama administration included admitted murderers, rapists, drug smugglers, prostitutes, and human traffickers.