As children suffer horrific conditions in border facilities, HHS Secretary Alex Azar claims kids in the jails he runs are just fine.
Even after recent news reports detailed the horrific conditions many children in U.S. custody are forced to endure, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar falsely bragged to Fox News Monday afternoon that the kids in jail under his control are doing just fine.
"The Department of Health and Human Services, the department I actually run, we're providing shelter for these kids," Azar says. "These kids are in a safe, secure environment. They get three square meals a day, they get two snacks, they're getting education services, they get recreation, when we get funding from Congress."
Azar made these claims on the same day hundreds of infants, toddlers, and children were relocated away from a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility where they were served uncooked frozen food, held in unsanitary conditions, and so poorly supervised that older children were stuck trying to console and care for younger children.
A doctor who visited several of these sites described them as akin to "torture facilities."
Azar briefly acknowledged that the CBP facilities, which fall under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security, "are not good conditions for kids to be in." But he shamefully split hairs by shifting the conversation and trying to brag about conditions in facilities run by a different Trump administration department.
What's more, the baby jails run by Azar's department are not the blissful utopian fantasies he pretends they are.
Azar and other Trump officials recently announced that the government will stop funding all education and recreational activities for children housed in federal facilities run by HHS.
Last year, a top HHS employee was caught tracking the menstrual cycles of underage girls in order to determine who was pregnant — and to devise ways to deny anyone who wanted an abortion from getting one.
Azar worked hand-in-hand with other Trump administration officials to help rip families apart under Trump's family separation policy.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration argued in court that it's fine to force kids to go without toothpaste and soap.
Reports of cruelty to children in Trump administration custody have been coming out for months. Border patrol agents are taking medicine away from children. Children are sleeping on dirt and rocks. Trump appointees contemplated housing children on top of a toxic waste dump. And half a dozen children have died in federal custody.
The Trump administration's lasting legacy will be its inhumane cruelty to immigrants, and especially immigrant children. Azar is a key participant, and no amount of spin can change that.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.