Jul 18 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC) led a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas expressing concern over the recent decision by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to finalize an agreement to open an Influx Care Facility (ICF) to house unaccompanied children at the American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro. The letter was also signed by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), and Representatives Ted Budd (R-NC), David Rouzer (R-NC), Dan Bishop (R-NC), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Greg Murphy (R-NC), and Patrick McHenry (R-NC). 

“On April 30, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided notice that a site visit would occur at the American Hebrew Academy on May 4, 2021,” the members wrote. “Less than one week later, Secretary Becerra told Rep. Richard Hudson ‘there is no plan that we have to shelter children in North Carolina.’ In subsequent correspondence in October 2021 with congressional staff, HHS noted that ORR was still considering the American Hebrew Academy, but that no agreements or contracts had been completed.”

The members continued, “We next received notice from the agency about this facility on June 9, 2022, when ORR announced it had procured a lease to use the American Hebrew Academy as an ICF. Further, HHS announced a federally funded contract worth almost $50 million over five years to operate the facility.”

“We are particularly concerned about this decision in light of the Biden Administration’s failure to secure our southern border and to prevent a stream of illegal immigration into our nation,” the members continued. “Since President Biden took office, there have been approximately 3 million encounters with illegal immigrants along our southern border. It is unfortunate that the Biden Administration’s failed immigration policies have resulted in a humanitarian crisis on the border for migrants and the need for an ICF at all, especially in a state as far from the border as North Carolina.” 

The members concluded, “More recently, we have learned about ties between the American Hebrew Academy and the previously publicly-traded Chinese company Puxin Limited. In 2019, Puxin announced it had entered an agreement with the American Hebrew Academy to loan the Academy $26 million for operation as an international college preparatory school. The school did not open, and the Academy has sat unused until this lease was agreed to… We are alarmed based on our current knowledge of this situation, and deeply concerned at the prospect of $50 million in taxpayer funds being potentially misused or mishandled by a troubled Chinese company.”

Read the full letter here.