DHS Chief Corrects Tlaib After She Accuses Trump Admin of Wanting To Detain Migrant Children

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan refuted Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s charge that the Trump administration wants to keep migrant children in custody.

“You want to keep kids longer. It’s been very clear from this administration,” Tlaib said to McAleenan during his appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday.

The congresswoman cited the Trump administration’s opposition to the Flores decision, which mandates that minor children apprehended at the border must be released to parents, adult relatives or sanctioned programs within 20 days.

McAleenan countered, “We want to keep families together through an immigration proceeding that is fair and expeditious and in an appropriate setting. That can’t be done in 20 days with due process.”

“We need to be able to finish immigration proceeding before people are released. Otherwise, we don’t have an effective result,” he added.

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Tlaib then suggested the “child separation” policy is still in place.

“There is no separation policy,” McAleenan said. “There is a court order and an executive order that define the conditions for the welfare of the child, and they are limited conditions and they’re extraordinarily rare.”

“Out of 450,000 families this year, fewer than 900 children have been separated from the adult they cross with who is a parent,” he added. “And they have been because of a criminal history or prosecution, not related to the immigration process, a medical issue or use or neglect concern with the child.”

The Trump administration briefly instituted a “zero tolerance” policy in the spring of 2018 for six weeks, during which some children were separated from their parents while adults faced possible criminal prosecution for crossing the border illegally.

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President Donald Trump issued an executive order in June 2018 effectively ending child separation from parents whose sole crime is illegally crossing the border.

A report generated by Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee found that potentially 2,648 children were separated from their families at the southern border, based on statistics provided by the Department of Health and Human Services.

To date, HHS has provided data to the committee on 1,619 children, showing 99 percent of them have been discharged by the department.

“Of the 1,603 discharged children, 1,546 children — or 95 percent — were either reunified with an individual sponsor or released to a parent. Specifically, 1,061 children were released to a parent and 485 children were reunified with an individual sponsor,” the report reads.

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Of the remaining 73 not reunited with a sponsor or parent, some remained under HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, while others voluntarily returned to their home countries or turned 18 and aged out of the program.

McAleenan also refuted charges by House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings that DHS is not providing adequate care for migrant children at the border, saying they are doing their “level best” under very challenging circumstances.

“I am confident that no law enforcement agency in the world is providing more critical lifesaving care or medical support than U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” he said.

He told the committee there have been over 300,000 children apprehended in this fiscal year, which is more than the total number of apprehensions (adults and children) in fiscal year 2017.

There have been over 800,000 total migrants apprehended since October, according to McAleenan.

The acting secretary urged the House members to change the nation’s immigration laws to disincentivize false asylum claims.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 1,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith