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Wyden, Merkley want probe of migrant children detention conditions


Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., recently joined 20 of their Democratic colleagues in calling on the federal Government Accountability Office’s Comptroller General to investigate conditions of children detained by the Customs and Border Patrol Agency, following the death of two migrant children at the southern border last year.

“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. They also expressed the need for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to address this urgent problem. In addition to the letter, Merkley recently traveled to the southern border with a delegation from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to investigate the circumstances of the death of eight year-old Felipe Alonzo-Gomez.

In addition to Wyden and Merkley, the letter to GAO was signed by Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., 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., 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..

A full copy of the letter can be found here.

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