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House Chairmen Condemn Shocking Secret Memo on Trump Administration’s Inhumane Child Separation Policy

Jan 19, 2019
Press Release

(WASHINGTON) - Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, and Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, the Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, issued the following statement in response to a draft December 2017 memorandum released yesterday by Senator Jeff Merkley, which was created by senior officials at the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice outlining the Trump Administration’s child separation policy:

“This new document is horrific.  It is proof that the Trump Administration secretly hatched a plan to separate thousands of vulnerable children from their parents and place them in federal custody in order to deter those seeking refuge in the United States.  This revelation raises grave questions about the veracity of Secretary Nielsen’s sworn testimony to Congress and her statements to the American people from the White House denying the existence of this immoral policy.  Secretary Nielsen must appear before Congress to answer for this cruel and heartless policy—and her inaccurate statements to Congress and the American people.  We also need to hear from the agencies responsible for formulating and carrying out the child separation policy, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health and Human Services.”

On June 18, 2018, Secretary Nielsen was asked at the White House:  “Are you intending for parents to be separated from their children?  Are you intending to send a message?”  She replied:  “I find that offensive. … No.  Because why would I ever create a policy that purposely does that?”  When the reported asked if the policy was put in place as a deterrent, Secretary Nielsen again responded:  “No.”

A day earlier, on June 17, 2018, Secretary Nielsen tweeted:  “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border.  Period.”

On May 15, 2018, Secretary Nielsen stated in sworn testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs:  “We do not have a policy to separate children from their parents.”

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Contacts:
Aryele Bradford (Oversight) – 202-226-5181
Daniel Schwarz (Judiciary) – 202-225-5635
Shadawn Reddick-Smith (Judiciary) – 202-225-6906
Adam Comis (Homeland Security) – 202-225-9978