Following their meeting with faith and non-profit leaders on the Trump administration’s family separation policy at the U.S.-Mexican border, today Virginia U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced a letter they sent to Trump officials demanding more information about an Associated Press report indicating widespread physical and psychological abuse of immigrant children at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center near Staunton, Virginia.
In a letter to Acting Assistant Secretary Steven Wagner for the Administration for Children and Families under the Department of Health and Human Services, Warner and Kaine outlined the “appalling accusations against the facility’s personnel” and ask for clarification and additional information from the agency.
“As Americans continue to process the realities of your Administration’s immigration policies, we write with additional concerns about the treatment of immigrant children currently or previously detained in government facilities. Specifically, we seek information about allegations of widespread physical and psychological abuse at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center (SVJC) near Staunton, Virginia, “ Warner and Kaine wrote.
Their concerns are underscored by the recent influx of children now being placed in detention facilities across the country and the agency’s inability to properly care for children already in its custody.
“As you can imagine, our concerns stem from the fact that your agency is tasked with caring for unaccompanied immigrant youths after DHS apprehends them for unlawful entry,” the Senators continued. “Though we understand that these alleged abuses took place at a locally-operated facility, your agency ultimately has oversight and must ensure that these facilities comply with standards for when and how to physically engage these youths.”