Immigrant Youth Shelters Have History of Child Abuse Claims: Report

Government contractors and non-profits running immigrant child shelters have been accused of sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect, according to a joint investigation by the Texas Tribune and Reveal. “Taxpayers have paid more than $1.5 billion in the past four years” to the companies operating the shelters, the report revealed. The Office of Refugee Resettlement has given over $5 billion dollars in grants to the companies since 2003 in 18 states. In Texas, state inspectors found 400 deficiencies in the shelters, including reports of broken wrists, burns, and sexually transmitted diseases. Southwest Key, the company that runs the shelter at the deserted Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, has received over 246 violations. In Florida, a former employee at the Homestead shelter was sentenced to 10 years in prison for a “sexually inappropriate behavior” with a child—she once asked a 15-year-old for a pornographic video. In New York, an 11-year-old boy was sexually assaulted by an older child at The Children’s Village shelter. Thirteen organizations have dealt with serious allegations since 2014, but ORR has only ended agreements with two of those companies.