Monday, 20 August, 2018

HHS officials warned against family separations

US President Donald Trump is once again threatening a government shutdown unless Congress approves funding for a wall on the US-Mexico border The Internet Can't Stop Roasting Trump For Threatening To 'Shut Down' The Government.
Jay Anderson | 01 August, 2018, 21:07

The Judiciary committee has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday on the Trump administration's separation of thousands of migrant children from parents detained entering the US without authorization.

A Department of Health and Human Services official told senators Tuesday that his agency had warned the Trump administration that separating families would be unsafe for children.

They included the acting director of U.S. Border Patrol, the deportation section chief at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the DOJ's top official in charge of reviewing immigration policy and the official who coordinates the Health and Human Services Department's efforts to reunite separated families. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has reported 1,310 cases of sexual abuse against detainees from 2013 to 2017, the report said.

"There is no question that separation of children from parents entails significant potential for traumatic psychological injury to the child", White said.

"During the deliberative process over the previous year, we raised a number of concerns in the (Office of Refugee Resettlement) program about any policy which would result in family separation due to concerns we had about the best interests of the child as well as about whether that would be operationally supportable with the bed capacity that we had", White said. White is a career official at HHS who has served in three administrations.

The description was the latest disconnect between officials charged with carrying out a controversial "zero tolerance" policy that has led to the separation of thousands of children from their migrant parents, and outraged lawmakers and members of the public who accuse President Donald Trump of creating a child safety crisis. "Democrats or Republicans. No one wins".

McConnell and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., have laid out a strategy to fund more than half of federal agencies by September 30, punting some of the more contentious fights - such as money for Trump's long-sought U.S. -Mexico border wall - to after the elections.

Defending conditions in the holding facilities, Albence said, "With regard to the FRCs (Family Residential Centers), I think the best way to describe them would be like a summer camp". He said the facilities undergo rigorous inspections and offer basketball and other forms of recreation, food and water around the clock and medical and dental care.

Under questioning by Illinois Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., "but this started with somebody in the White House with a bright idea that turned out to be a disaster".




"It's not an exaggeration to say that the policies of President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions may essentially orphan hundreds of immigrant children", she said, blasting the policy as "deeply immoral and haphazard".

At one point, Sen.

Trump had said during his campaign that Mexico would pay for his wall, but Mexico has balked at that request. "But we're going to get the wall, even if we have to think about closing up the country for a while".

"Most times we don't see them again", Albence told the committee.

For now, the probability of a funding lapse remains low, despite Trump stirring the pot this weekend with a tweet.

Tuesday's hearing also brought renewed calls from Democrats for the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Shiloh has been contracted to house migrant children deemed unaccompanied minors since 2013, and it was also set to receive children separated from their parents under the Trump administration. He cited the often frantically crowded Chuck E. Cheese children's restaurants as having procedures that work. And lawmakers on both sides agreed on Tuesday that the US should never return to a policy of forcibly separating children from their parents.

Committee Chairman Charles Grassley says Trump's crackdown on people illegally crossing the border from Mexico was well-intentioned but has had unintended consequences.

Immigrant advocates and lawyers have said that the policy has been chaotic, and that it was evident there was no plan in place for how to reunify families before the separations began on a large scale. Recently, he drew flak by separating illegal immigrant children from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

Shiloh is a collection of trailers and small buildings that can house up to 44 children, 32 of them migrants, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting, which has reported extensively on the facility.

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