WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), released the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General report on family separations:
“The report published by the DHS Office of the Inspector General is deeply disturbing. It reveals that this Administration implemented its family separation policy fully aware that it would be impossible in some cases to reunite children they tore from their families. Yet this inhumane policy, which goes against our core American values, was still allowed to move forward,” said Senator Rosen. “This is unacceptable. I will continue to press this Administration for answers and to demand accountability. Congress must act to finally pass bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform that strengthens our border security while allowing for humane asylum laws.”
BACKGROUND: In May, Senator Rosen questioned then-DHS Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan on misleading statements DHS officials made to Senator Rosen and Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24) during their 2018 visit to the US-Mexico Border. Senator Rosen and Congressman Carbajal traveled together to Texas to visit a facility housing unaccompanied immigrant minors in Tornillo and U.S. Custom and Border Protection’s Paso del Norte Processing Center in El Paso. DHS and HHS personnel assured them that their agencies had the information and resources needed to reunite separated migrant families. The Inspector General report offers further evidence that the Trump Administration misled Members of Congress as well as the general public about their intent to inflict cruelty on vulnerable children.
In June, Rosen led 17 of her colleagues in sending a letter to then-DHS Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan, raising concerns about a recent Office of Inspector General report detailing severe and dangerous overcrowding of migrants at El Paso Del Norte Processing Center during unannounced inspections conducted on May 8 and 9, 2019.
Also in June, Rosen placed holds on two DHS nominees demanding that the substandard conditions for children at DHS processing and detention facilities improve significantly.
In July, Rosen spoke on the Senate floor and outlined three reforms she called on DHS to make to improve conditions for migrants held at the southern border: hiring pediatricians to care for migrant children, placing child welfare professionals in detention facilities, and improving access for non-governmental organizations to provide services and monitor detention conditions.
Also in July, following Rosen’s request for immediate hearings on the health and safety conditions of migrant children in detention and processing centers at the southern border, Rosen questioned CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan and demanded that CBP implement the three reforms previously outlined.
Rosen is a co-sponsor of the Keep Families Together Act, which would ensure that the federal government carries out immigration procedures in the best interest of detained children.