Federal Manager's Daily Report

Temporary soft sided facilities are utilized to process noncitizen individuals, noncitizen families and noncitizen unaccompanied children as part of the ongoing response to the current border security and humanitarian effort along the Southwest Border in Donna, Texas, May 4, 2021. CBP Photo by Michael Battise

The ranking Republican on the House government operations subcommittee, Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, has again pressed OPM for information on the detailing of federal employees to assist with unaccompanied children at the Southern border, calling the agency’s initial response to his questions inadequate.

Hice and some other Republicans have questioned the program, in which employees volunteer for details of up to four months, raising issues including the impact on the agencies the employees left and the qualifications of volunteers to work with children.

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Hice initially had asked in April for a range of information on the program but in a new letter to OPM said he received only a “single paragraph response referring me to the original job announcement and indicating without elaboration that OPM coordinated with HHS.”

“No additional documents and communications containing any analysis of the impact of such details on the agencies/departments sending detailees have been provided. Therefore, I can only assume that such an analysis was not contemplated by OPM—before, during, or after the detailees’ deployments,” he wrote in the latest letter.

“It strains belief that these details would not have significant effects on federal detailees and operations at their home agencies/departments, and I am dismayed that OPM appears to have performed no analysis of these impacts,” he wrote in again asking for data on the details and an analysis of their impact.

Meanwhile, the ranking Republican on the parent Oversight and Reform Committee has asked HHS for details on use of contractors for those purposes, saying he has received “multiple whistleblower complaints from federal employees” about “unclear communication and chains of command” and lack of formal training for those providing care.

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2021 Federal Employees Handbook