Congressional Democrats are demanding answers on family separations at the US border and how parents will be reunited with their children.
In a letter Friday to the inspector generals for the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, a group of Democratic lawmakers write that they are “deeply concerned” about the the Department of Justice’s “zero-tolerance” policy that has resulted in family separations and “gravely disturbed” over reports about separated parents and children and the possibility that they might “never be reunited again.”
The letter, organized by California Rep. Lou Correa and signed by more than 120 House Democrats, outlines a series of questions such as, “How quickly (average time) can DHS and/or HHS locate a child’s parent?” and “What is the process for DHS and HHS to reunite parents with their children?”
President Donald Trump’s decided earlier this week to reverse course and sign an executive order that he said would help keep families together. That decision came after intense backlash, including from congressional Republicans, against the administration’s separation of undocumented immigrant parents from their children at the border.
But many questions over what happens next remain.
Some of the questions Democrats want answers to in their letter include how DHS and HHS are keeping records of parents and children and what systems the departments are using to keep tabs.
The letter also brings up the possibility that adults might be deported without first being reunited with their kids.
“If parents are deported without their children, what is the process of reuniting the parents with their children?” it asks.
A separate letter sent on Friday by Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, and Democrats on the panel, calls family separations “a travesty,” and similarly seeks information about children who have been separated from their families.
That letter, sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, DHS Secretary Kristjen Nielsen and HHS Secretary Alex Azar, requests detailed information relating to separated parents and children by June 28, including requests for the names, ages and country of origins of children and their parents, when and where the separation occurred as well as the date and location of reunification if that has taken place.