Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties: Failure of Administration to Comply with Subpoenas on Child Separation Policy

Meeting Status: 
Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 2:00pm


On February 26, 2019, the Committee authorized Chairman Elijah Cummings to issue subpoenas requiring DOJ, DHS, and HHS to produce documents related to the Administration's actions in separating children from their families at the southern border. The subpoenas covered eleven categories of documents on each separated child. The same information was requested nine months ago in a bipartisan letter from then-Ranking Member Cummings and Rep. Mark Meadows, then the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations. 

The Committee's subpoenas were approved on a bipartisan basis, and the documents were due on March 12, 2019. In response, the agencies produced a spreadsheet that responded to only two of the eleven categories of the subpoena. The response included: 

  • An anonymized identification number, date of birth, date of book-in to U.S. government custody, age at book-in, country of citizenship or birth, and gender of 2,667 children; and
  • The date of birth, age, country of citizenship, and gender of the parent accompanying each child.

On March 27, 2019, Chairman Cummings and Subcommittee Chairman Jamie Raskin 
sent a letter to the three agencies expressing concern with their failure to comply with the .subpoenas and inviting each agency's top legislative affairs official to testify at this hearing.

Since the initial subpoena deadline, Committee staff and agency staff have engaged in extensive discussions to understand the status of each agency's compliance efforts. The agencies provided some additional information in letters on April 2, 2019.

The purpose of the hearing is to determine why DOJ, DHS, and HHS have not complied with the Committee's subpoenas and when the agencies will be in full compliance.


The Honorable Christine Ciccone 
Assistant Secretary for the Office of Legislative Affairs 
U.S. Department of Homeland Security 

The Honorable Stephen E. Boyd 
Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legislative Affairs 
U.S. Department of Justice 

The Honorable Matthew Bassett 
Assistant Secretary for Legislation 
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 

116th Congress