A California facility which houses illegal immigrant children reportedly boasts organic orchards, a small petting zoo, and guitar lessons – all courtesy of your tax dollars.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is demanding answers from Health and Human Services in a new letter following the revelation.


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Documents show that HHS approved a grant for Southwest Key to fund a facility in El Cajon, Calif.

In a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Grassley wrote:

According to the grant documents, Southwest Key also told your department that the facility contained the following amenities:

“We have an organic orchard of orange, lemon, and grapefruit trees. As well as an Organic (sic) garden that supplements our kitchen with a wide variety of organic vegetables throughout the year. We have a small petting farm with ducks, chickens, and miniature ponies. We have also established an Acuaponics system where we are cultivating over 1000 Tilapia.”

Further, Southwest Key described the facility as, “…an architectural compliment to San Diego’s early ‘Spanish Colonial’ history.” Southwest Key also claimed that its location would allow UACs to “…enjoy the fruits of living in a large city, yet far enough where there is a suburban serenity to the facility.” Finally, Southwest Key informed HHS that the facility’s windows “provid(e) a splendid view of the beautiful California sunset.”

In your testimony just months after this grant was approved, you claimed that a large infusion of taxpayer dollars was necessary because, “…we don’t have enough beds and we don’t have sufficient resources to continue to add beds.” It is disturbing that HHS is funding such expensive facilities despite claiming to be unable to meet basic needs for UACs.


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Grassley’s letter also cites documents which reportedly show that HHS approved a grant which provides illegal immigrant children with guitar lessons, classified as “vocational training.”

Watch the report above, and read the full letter here.