Griffith Sends Letter Regarding Reports VI Being Considered for Use as Illegal Immigrant Detention Facility

Friday, June 20, 2014 | Andie Pivarunas (202-225-3861)
“While I am personally opposed, American citizens impacted by such a decision ought to know beforehand, and they should have a meaningful opportunity to have their voices heard.”

Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) today issued the following statement after sending a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell regarding reports that Virginia Intermont College in Bristol is under consideration by HHS as a possible detention center to house immigrant children who have illegally entered the United States:

“While I am personally opposed, American citizens impacted by such a decision ought to know beforehand, and they should have a meaningful opportunity to have their voices heard.”

The full text of the letter follows below:

June 20, 2014

The Honorable Sylvia Burwell
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20201

Dear Secretary Burwell:

I am contacting you regarding reports of the possibility of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) housing minor illegal immigrants at the Virginia Intermont College property in Bristol, Virginia, which is in Virginia’s Ninth Congressional District, which I represent.

I first learned of this issue in a Bristol Herald Courier newspaper article from June 19, 2014, entitled “Virginia Intermont may be possible site to house immigrant children.”  I do not understand why HHS may be considering bringing these illegal immigrant minors to the Virginia Intermont College property when I believe our efforts should be spent on returning them back to their home countries.  Nonetheless, housing a number of illegal immigrant children would obviously have a significant impact on the Virginia Intermont College property and the surrounding community. 

While I am personally opposed, American citizens impacted by such a decision ought to know beforehand, and they should have a meaningful opportunity to have their voices heard.  Before HHS comes to any decision on this issue, I request that meaningful consultation be done with local officials and general public of Bristol, Virginia, Washington County, Virginia, and Bristol, Tennessee, which would all stand to be impacted in various ways.  Furthermore, I request that you seek the involvement of state and local elected officials of these areas.  Housing these illegal immigrant children may impact public safety and public health in addition to an increased demand on public services.  Local citizens deserve to know how HHS plans to address these critical issues before any decisions are made.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.  If there are any questions regarding my request, or if I may provide you with any additional information or materials, please contact me or Will Hupman in my Washington, DC office at (202) 225-3861.  I look forward to your reply.  I remain

Sincerely yours,

 

H. MORGAN GRIFFITH
Member of Congress

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