Press Releases

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today renewed requests to Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to hold an oversight hearing to examine the Trump administration’s treatment of children. The request comes after recent reports of harmful actions taken by the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, including a DHS Inspector General’s report on family separation.

Feinstein in June requested an oversight hearing on family separation and one was held the following month.

Feinstein wrote: “I write to request that the Committee hold oversight hearings about family separation at the border and detention conditions, particularly for children. Over 100 children remain in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement as a result of this policy, and their release has been delayed in part because Immigration and Customs Enforcement often arrests and deports their sponsors.

“Even as many families remain separated, serious questions have arisen regarding immigration detention conditions. The DHS Inspector General concluded that many individuals were held for well over 72 hours in facilities that were not designed to accommodate them for extended periods of time.”

Full text of the letter follows:

October 3, 2018

The Honorable Charles Grassley

Chairman

Committee on the Judiciary

United States Senate

224 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Grassley,

I write to request that the Committee hold oversight hearings about family separation at the border and detention conditions, particularly for children.

The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concluded today that DHS struggled to identify, track, and reunify families separated under the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy. Over 100 children remain in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement as a result of this policy, and their release has been delayed in part because Immigration and Customs Enforcement often arrests and deports their sponsors.

Even as many families remain separated, serious questions have arisen regarding immigration detention conditions. The DHS Inspector General concluded that many individuals were held for well over 72 hours in facilities that were not designed to accommodate them for extended periods of time.

Meanwhile, throughout September, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secretly moved thousands of children from shelters throughout the country to a tent facility near Tornillo, Texas. It has been reported that children were moved abruptly, in the middle of the night. Serious questions remain regarding appropriate care for these children, including access to mental health providers and pediatricians, as well as schooling and access to legal counsel.

Due to these disturbing incidents and lack of transparency, we respectfully request an immediate oversight hearing to better understand the efforts by DHS and HHS to promote family reunification and ensure that detention is as humane and brief as possible. Our committee, unlike any other in Congress, is uniquely situated to examine these issues and in so doing, to keep children safe.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein