House Judiciary Dems Demand Answers from DHS and DOJ Following Surge of Immigrant Family Separations at the Border
Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) with House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) led a letter signed by Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen and AG Jeff Sessions, to demand that a briefing be provided on the Trump administration’s implementation of a “zero tolerance” policy towards border crossers apprehended between ports of entry, the criminalization of asylum seekers, and the increase in family separation. “Many of the families and individuals crossing the southwest border between ports of entry are travelling from countries ravaged by violence and are seeking protection. Many of these individuals first presented themselves at ports of entry only to be turned away. It is well established that the United States must process asylum applications, including those filed by individuals who do not present themselves at a port of entry. That is why we are extremely alarmed that the Administration would enact a policy that prioritizes the criminal prosecution of those seeking protection rather than the assessment of their asylum claims,” the lawmakers write. “Further troubling is that the Administration’s policy will result in the increased separation of families. As parents remain in criminal proceedings or detention, children will be removed and placed in the care of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Recent news reports of unaccounted children suggest, however, that the Administration lacks policies to ensure that such children are eventually reunified with their families.” The letter was signed by Democratic members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, including: Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), Karen Bass (D-CA), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Val Demings (D-FL), and others. Read the full letter here.