The House Oversight Committee has voted to issue subpoenas to the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services in a move to hold the Trump administration accountable for the human suffering caused by its “zero tolerance” family separations policy at the U.S.-Mexico border.
This represents the first subpoenas of the Trump administration by the new Congress since Democrats took over.
The committee is demanding information related to “the children separated, location and facilities where they were held, details on their parents, information on efforts to restore children to their parents and whether parents were deported,” according to a report from NBC News.
“I believe this is a true national emergency,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said. “When our own government rips children from the arms of their mothers and fathers with no plans to reunite them — that is government-sponsored child abuse.”
The House Oversight Committee has sought information related to the family separations policy for the last seven months, but the decision to subpoena the Trump administration received a light rebuke from Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), the committee’s ranking Republican, who argued in a letter to Cummings that the committee “should not rush to compel documents from the departments, especially when they have sought to comply with your request voluntarily.”
The move was nonetheless cheered on by many who believe the administration should be held accountable for what has been described as a humanitarian crisis at our nation’s southern border.
I witnessed first hand the damage done by Trump's family separation policy.
Months later families are still being torn apart by Trump's attacks on immigrants.
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) February 26, 2019
Today, @OversightDems voted to subpoena documents from HHS, DOJ, and DHS so we can finally reunite the children who have been separated from their families — this was a bipartisan vote.
This isn't about politics, it's about doing the right thing. https://t.co/7YI0vN4Rek
— Rep. Katie Hill (@RepKatieHill) February 26, 2019
Congress needs answers from the Trump Administration about their inhumane family separation policy. How many families were separated? How will they reunify every child with loved ones? We must ensure this injustice is never repeated. #EndFamilySeparation pic.twitter.com/pGB3U55qFL
— Ann McLane Kuster (@RepAnnieKuster) February 26, 2019
Outstanding! House Oversight Committee subpoenas Trump's Dept. of Homeland Security, Justice, and HHS in family separation probe https://t.co/uwAWF8Byg5
— PC: United (@PCUnitedPage) February 23, 2019
Earlier this month, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) decried the family separations policy as “evil.”
This is what evil looks like. https://t.co/YMe6KjdsPt
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) February 4, 2019
Merkley was responding to an update from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that the Trump administration did not dispute a report that there “may have been thousands more separated kids” than originally reported.
BREAKING: Tonight the Trump administration filed documents that don’t dispute the recent report that there may have been thousands more separated kids. They’re arguing it would take too long to figure out where those kids are because they have no tracking system.
— ACLU (@ACLU) February 2, 2019