Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan came before the House Oversight Committee today to attempt to convince them that conditions there are just hunky-dory for the migrants they detain. Especially for the children. He claimed that there is adequate bed space for children, that they've reduced the number of kids from 2700 to under 350, and that they spend an average of under 35 hours in CBP (Customs and Border Protection) custody. McAleenan stated the family separation policy ended 13 months ago. He even went so far as to claim that "the men and women of DHS have served with vigilance and compassion" throughout this period.
Craig Melvin invited Krish Vignarajah to interpret (read: fact-check) McAleenan's claims. Vignarajah is former policy director to FLOTUS Michelle Obama, and president of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. She had her work cut out for her.
VIGNARAJAH: Yeah, absolutely. So we were one of the two agencies approached by the government to help them reunify families as this crisis broke out last summer. And I can tell you though the policy has ended, the practice continues. Since June 2018, since the end of the zero tolerance policy, we've had nearly 40 cases. I've had four babies under the age of 1 separated. And we're one of many agencies. So the estimate we have right now is that there's been about 700 children that have been separated in recent months.
MELVIN: Well how do you square that with what WE heard from the secretary there? Is he -- is he unaware of that?
VIGNARAJAH: Yeah, I mean, honestly I'm not sure what data he's looking at. Because we flagged this concern in 2017 to our agency contacts and we we continue to report about these cases each time they come about. The reality that even 30 children from the zero tolerance policy have not been reunified with their families a year later? These are all facts that we've conveyed to the government. So, I'm not sure what he's, kind of, reporting on right now. It's not the data, it's not the facts, the statistics, the anecdotes that I can share with you. We had an 8-month-old separated from a parent on Christmas Eve. This is not unusual.
So, according to the agency the government itself has asked to help with reunification, the DHS's Acting Director is completely
out of touch mistaken or lying (I know which way *I'm* leaning...) about what is happening at the border to children and families. Babies under the age of one are still being taken from their parents.
Craig Melvin asked her to describe more of what she knew was happening, compared to McAleenan's BS testimony.
Live pictures showed a group at the Rotunda peacefully protesting during these hearings. Elderly men and women were lying on the floor in the shape of a cross. Grey-haired heads bowed as they held out their wrists for the Capitol Police to put them in handcuffs as they were arrested for standing up for migrant children, babies, mothers and fathers. People who clearly remember what World War II signified for humanity, determined that it should never happen again, being led away, shoulders stooped with age, in handcuffs by police.
Nice job, America.