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HHS chief to testify before House subcommittee over unaccompanied child migrant crisis after GOP pressure

FIRST ON FOX: The head of the Department of Health and Human Services will testify before a House subcommittee hearing on the unaccompanied child migrant crisis — after Republicans on the committee had pressured him to appear on the matter.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith announced that HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra will appear at the July 26 hearing called: “Stopping the Exploitation of Migrant Children: Oversight of HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement.” 

The hearing will examine the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s management of the unaccompanied child migrant program “including HHS’ responsibility to keep children in their care safe and prevent their exploitation after release,” according to the announcement, seen by Fox News Digital.

TOP HOUSE COMMITTEE RAMPS UP PRESSURE ON HHS CHIEF BECERRA TO TESTIFY OVER CHILD MIGRANT CRISIS

Xavier Becerra

U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on March 22, 2023 in Washington, DC. Becerra testified on the FY2024 budget request for the Department of Health and Human Services. ( (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images))

Children encountered without an adult are processed and then transferred into HHS custody, who then seek to unite them with a sponsor — typically a parent or relative already in the country. 

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But the New York Times reported how officials reportedly ignored signs of “explosive” growth in the child labor force, while staff members claimed Becerra pushed for discharging minors even quicker.

HOUSE REPUBLICANS INCREASE PRESSURE ON BIDEN ADMIN OVER REPORTS OF SURGE IN FORCED CHILD MIGRANT LABOR 

“This is not how the constitutionally mandated oversight process functions,” the Republicans say. “The Committee gets to determine which witnesses it wishes to have testify.”

The lawmakers said that if he did not agree to testify, they would explore “other avenues.” A committee aide told Fox News Digital that those avenues included a potential subpoena.

This week, he appeared before a separate House committee and again said that HHS does not have jurisdiction over the children that are placed into the care of sponsors, blaming instead unscrupulous employers and companies willing to exploit vulnerable children.

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