Washington – Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) led 20 of their Democratic colleagues in calling on the federal Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) Comptroller General to examine conditions for all children detained by the Customs and Border Patrol Agency (CBP). The senators hope to prevent future tragedies like the deaths of Jakelin Caal and Felipe Alonzo-Gomez that occurred while in the agency’s care.
“We believe it is imperative that your office open an investigation not only into the circumstances of these two tragedies, but into the broader conditions of children being detained by CBP,” the Senators wrote. “Unless we truly understand what happened in these tragedies, we cannot fix what went wrong and put the correct policies in place so that it never happens again.”
The senators outlined a number of questions that need to be addressed to prevent future tragedies from happening. They also expressed the need for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing as another means of addressing this urgent problem.
Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.) Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) joined in this effort.
A full copy of the letter can be found here.