Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Representing California’s 46th Congressional District
PRESS RELEASE, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 24, 2014
MEDIA CONTACT: Eduardo Lerma, Eduardo.Lerma@mail.house.gov
REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ QUESTIONS SECRETARY OF DHS ON UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN ISSUES
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46), senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, today questioned Secretary Jeh Johnson and other government officials on their handling of the large volume of unaccompanied children at our southern border during a full committee hearing entitled, “Dangerous Passage: The Growing Problem of Unaccompanied Children Crossing the Border:”
“We must continue to be engaged with the Government of Mexico and those countries throughout Central America, to ensure that we get at the root of the migration problem,” said Rep. Sanchez, adding that it is critical that we assist these countries in developing their judicial and education systems.
In questioning whether criminal aliens were among those that have come across in recent months, the Congresswoman asked “Some have asserted that gang members or individuals with criminal records are among those unaccompanied children being apprehended. How does Border Patrol screen individuals for these issues? What have been your findings so far?”
The Secretary agreed that sustained engagement with Central American countries will assist in combatting these recent migration patterns. Additionally, Deputy Chief of the Border Patrol, Ronald Vitiello, assured members that proper screening is done and no undocumented individual under 17 has been shown to be criminal or gang related.
Congresswoman Sanchez had recently offered amendments to H.R. 3846, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Authorization Act, which would direct CBP to work with the Government of Mexico to further secure their southern border. The amendments would also ask that the Governments of Mexico, United States and Canada engage with Central American countries to stem the flow of migrants northward.