Sen. Rick Scott Receives Briefing from HHS on Tragic Death of Migrant Child in Safety Harbor

May 13, 2023

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. — Today, Senator Rick Scott and Representative Anna Paulina-Luna visited the Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services Migrant Center to a receive briefing and demand answers from the Biden administration regarding the tragic death of a migrant child under the custody of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Yesterday, Senator Scott led Representatives Laurel Lee, Gus Bilirakis and Anna Paulina-Luna in a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas requesting today’s briefing on this terrible loss and answers to a series of questions regarding the circumstances surrounding this death. Read the full letter HERE.


Last week, Senators Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton joined Senator Scott to introduce a bill to ensure extensive vetting by the DHS and HHS before a vulnerable unaccompanied child is placed with a sponsor.


Senator Rick Scott said, “A child is dead. He had parents and grandparents. He had dreams just like every child we know. I am heartbroken, angry and demanding answers for how this happened. I want to thank HHS for putting a briefing together for us quickly and providing a tour of this facility today. Priority #1 is making sure the kids in the custody of the federal government are safe. Everybody understands that this horrible tragedy is yet another consequence of the Biden administration’s decision to have a wide open border and give operational control of it to the savage Mexican cartels. The crisis on our border is horrific for migrant children. Kids are being trafficked by the cartels and abused, and the Biden administration has been placing kids with sponsors that are enabling this disgusting practice. Now a child has died. Enough is enough.


“We have to keep these kids safe. The bottom line is that this child’s death was 100% preventable. When the federal government takes custody of a child, it is their job to do whatever it takes to keep them safe and alive. In the more than 840 days since President Biden took office, he has systematically dismantled the effective policies put in place by the Trump administration, creating the worst national security and humanitarian crisis on our southern border in American history. This administration has also done nothing to address the instability in Latin America that is helping to fuel this crisis. While the loss of any life is unacceptable, the death of a child is especially infuriating and demands immediate answers from both HHS and the DHS. We won’t stop fighting for answers and to see action that makes sure this won’t happen again.”


Congresswoman Anna Paulina-Luna said, “It took losing an innocent child on Biden’s watch to get national attention on the stark reality that this administration’s blatant refusal to stop this insanity is taking lives. Real people. Children. Every day. 


“The death of this child and the trafficking, rape, and indiscriminate exploitation of thousands of others, can be laid at the feet of Joe Biden’s irresponsible apathy. I have three words: end this madness.”