The Administration's Decision to Deport Critically Ill Children and Their Families

Meeting Status: 
Rescheduled
Meeting Notes: 
**This hearing was previously scheduled on October 24, 2019
Date: 
Wednesday, October 30, 2019 - 10:00am
Location: 
2154 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
The Administration's Decision to Deport Critically Ill Children and Their Families

CHAIRMAN RASKIN'S OPENING STATEMENT

PURPOSE

  • The Subcommittee will hold a hearing to examine the Trump administration’s decision to deport children with critical illnesses—a decision that was recently reversed following public outrage and pressure from this Subcommittee.  The Subcommittee will also press the Administration on the policy in place now and its plans for the policy going forward.  
     
  • The hearing will also examine the Administration’s refusal to comply with two document subpoenas issued by Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings on October 16, 2019, in the Chairman’s last official act before he passed away the following morning. 

BACKGROUND

  • The Trump administration must be held accountable for its cruelty, incompetence, and failure to assess the harm that would be caused by this policy.  However, the Administration’s obstruction has blocked the Subcommittee from answering key questions, including who developed the policy, who approved it, and why.  In addition, the role of Immigration and Customs Enforcement remains unclear due to the Administration’s conflicting statements. 
     
  • Although the Administration claims to have reversed this disastrous decision, it has failed to explain the policy going forward—leading to even more uncertainty for affected children and families.  Committee staff have learned from advocates that some applicants who had previously been granted deferred action have applied for renewal, but have seen their deferrals expire, jeopardizing their ability to remain in the United States legally while their requests are pending.  It is unclear whether any deferred action requests have been granted since the partial reversal on September 2, or the “full” reversal on September 18.
     
  • The Trump administration’s callous decision to threaten to deport sick children to their home countries, where they would likely die, is part of a pattern of cruel immigration policies that target children. At U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services—an agency that is supposed to assist legal immigrants—Acting Director Cuccinelli has overseen several policy changes that have been detrimental to immigrant children, including implementing a new “public charge” rule and adding a new hurdle for children escaping domestic abuse to obtain Special Immigrant Juvenile status. 

WITNESSES

Mr. Matthew Albence
Acting Director
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Mr. Ken Cuccinelli
Acting Director
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

HEARING RECAP

116th Congress