Forty-five U.S. House Republicans voted with Democrats against an amendment to remove an agency head at the center of ongoing allegations of child abuse and neglect.
After debate on Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Arizona, filed an amendment on Wednesday using the Holman Rule to remove Robin Dunn Marcos, director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Under the Biden administration, Marcos oversees ORR's scandal-plagued Unaccompanied Children Program, which has funneled an unprecedented number of unaccompanied minors (UAC) into the U.S., arriving at the southern and northern borders. ORR is responsible for vetting sponsors and placing UACs in homes and facilities nationwide.
The Holman Rule allows Congress to reduce a federal employee's salary, fire specific federal employees, or cut specific programs.
The U.S. House is considering fiscal year 2024 appropriations measures in HR 5894 to fund the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies. Of the several amendments proposed, Biggs' Part B Amendment No. 86 failed by a vote of 173-254 with the help of 45 Republicans.
Multiple federal and state investigations have found serious deficiencies of ORR oversight, including allegations of sexual abuse of children in HHS/ORR-contracted facilities and losing track of UACs once they are in the U.S. Several investigative reports identified over 100,000 children ORR can't account for within a certain timeframe, meaning the number is likely higher.
A Florida grand jury report found the ORR was "facilitating the forced migration, sale, and abuse of foreign children. This process exposes children to horrifying health conditions, constant criminal threat, labor and sex trafficking, robbery, rape and other experiences not done justice by mere words."
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called for the grand jury to convene, which found that "Florida receives no information on backgrounds, criminal history or immigration status of the UAC brought here, nor does the state have any assurance the UAC are in-fact minors."