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House Republicans are pushing to change the law as part of a $659 million emergency spending bill to address the border crisis for the next two months. A Senate bill contains more money to house and transport the children well into the next fiscal year but wouldn’t change the law to speed up deportations.

Mr. McCain said the information blackout will “absolutely” discourage Republicans from voting for anything more than a stopgap spending to keep the program running through Congress’ summer recess.

The administration also has stonewalled questions from Congress about how the program is run, including how many of the children have received asylum status that will allow them to remain in the U.S. or how many have been released to relatives or other guardians and asked to return for an immigration hearing at a later date.

Questions also have gone unanswered about the process for performing background checks on the children, many of whom are teens, and the adults who claim to be their relatives or guardians.

Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Henry Cuellar, both of Texas, sent HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell a letter July 18 with six questions about the policies for screening adults to whom children are released and tracking of the children after release.

“Does HHS conduct criminal background checks and national security checks on guardians prior to releasing unaccompanied alien children to their custody?” they asked in one of the questions posed in the letter.

The department has yet to respond, according to Mr. Cornyn’s office.