House Oversight committee asks DHS for information on family separation
The House Oversight and Reform Committee on Thursday requested the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provide lawmakers with information about the separation of migrant children from their parents.
The Democrats’ request follows a recent court ruling that the Trump administration was within its authority when it separated more than 900 children from their parents since June 2018, when the court halted family separation under a “zero tolerance” policy.
“The new separations appear to follow an opaque process and vague standards that may be causing many children to be separated unnecessarily,” Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, wrote in a letter to DHS.
The Democrats are asking DHS to provide information on all separated children, including the process and justification for separating them, as well as how DHS plans to track children and reunify families.
A spokesperson for DHS was not immediately available for comment.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw ruled earlier this month that he found no evidence that the government was abusing its discretion and indicated he was uncomfortable second-guessing government decisions to separate children on the grounds that parents were considered unfit or dangerous, The Associated Press reported.
But the Democrats said DHS provides Customs and Border Protection officials with “wide discretion” to separate children from parents when they arrive at the border.
“The Committee is deeply concerned by the number of separations the Trump Administration is causing, the lack of clear and transparent processes, the inadequate justifications for taking children away from their families, and the ongoing inability to track and reunify families,” Maloney and Raskin wrote.