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U. S. Congress

Posted: Jul 07, 2014 11:04 AMUpdated: Jul 07, 2014 11:04 AM

Bridenstine Asks Media to Refrain from HHS Tour

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Charlie Taraboletti

Certain members of the media received an invitation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Monday morning to a showcase “tour” of the HHS facility housing Unaccompanied Alien Children at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.

Congressman Jim Bridenstine is encouraging members of the media to reject the limitations proposed by HHS.  Bridenstine says the idea of no recording devices, no questions, and no interactions is not acceptable.  He says the limitation violates the 1st Amendment and is not transparent.  Bridenstine claims is trying to muzzle the media and hide the human tragedy that has resulted directly from the Administration’s failure to enforce the law.

The invitation to the media is for July 10, a date when the House of Representatives is in session, thus precluding participation by Members of Congress.  The Congressman has not yet received a response from HHS regarding his letter responding to their inquiry of interest in a visit on July 12.

The HHS email states:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: Garcia, Jesus (ACF) [mailto:Jesus.Garcia@acf.hhs.gov]
Sent: Monday, July 07, 2014 10:23 AM
To:
Subject: Media Tour of Fort Sill, Oklahoma Temporary Shelter

Media Tour of Fort Sill, Oklahoma Temporary Shelter

The HHS Administration for Children and Families would like to invite you to a media tour of the

Unaccompanied Children temporary shelter at Fort Sill. The tour will take place 2 p.m., Thursday, July 10 (Central Time).

 

The purpose of this 40-minute tour is to show members of the press the interior of the shelter and explain the care we provide while these children remain in our custody. The tour guide will detail what goes on from room to room and the services youth are provided on a daily basis.

 

In order to protect the safety and privacy of the children, the following rules for participation will be required:

 

- No recording devices will be allowed

- No questions will be allowed during the tour

- No interacting with staff and children at the shelter

- We ask that your questions be provided via email or phone after the tour to Kenneth Wolfe

- HHS ACF public affairs will provide answers to your follow up questions as quickly as possible

- We will provide photos of the facility after the tour

- There will be no on-site interviews by HHS staff before or after the tour, all inquiries go to Kenneth Wolfe

 

If you would like to participate, please RSVP by 4 p.m. (Central Time) Tuesday, July 8, with HHS ACF Special Assistant Jesus Garcia (jesus.garcia@acf.hhs.gov).

 

All media inquiries to should go to:

Kenneth J. Wolfe

Deputy Director

Office of Public Affairs

Phone: (202) 401-9215

Email: Kenneth.Wolfe@acf.hhs.gov

Thursday is the only tour of the UAC facility at the base which ACF plans to offer at this time.

Once you RSVP, we will provide you directions on where to arrive on Thursday by 8 a.m., Wednesday, July 9 (Central Time).

Jesus Garcia

Special Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs

Administration for Children and Families

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20447

(202) 260-2309 Phone

jesus.garcia@acf.hhs.gov

www.acf.hhs.gov   

 


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