Cummings Issues Statement on New Report Showing Chaos and Dissembling in Trump Administration Child Separation Policy

Oct 2, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 2, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to a new report from the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security detailing how the Trump Administration was woefully unprepared to handle the impact of separating thousands of children from their families:

“President Trump, Attorney General Sessions, and Secretary Nielsen never should have implemented their destructive child separation policy.  This new independent report shows that the Trump Administration had no plan in place to track the children they separated from their families in the name of the United States.  Based on this report, it appears that Trump Administration officials not only kept these children longer than the law allows, but they also falsely told the American people they were tracking these kids when they clearly were not.  Our Committee should finally issue subpoenas to DHS and the other agencies that are stonewalling our bipartisan requests for documents.  The American people deserve to know what happened to these children in their name.”

Cummings and other top Democrats requested the report on June 29, 2018.

The IG’s findings justify concerns that Cummings and others raised based on reports that the Trump Administration failed to put in place adequate protocols to reunite families and that top officials were making inaccurate public statements about the child separation policy.

Below are highlights from the new report:

  • The Trump Administration falsely claimed in June that it had a “central database” to track separated families, though investigators “found no evidence that such a database exists.”

  • The Inspector General had difficulty obtaining information on separated children from DHS, and “the data DHS eventually supplied was incomplete and inconsistent, raising questions about its reliability.”

  • The Trump Administration provided inconsistent or incorrect information—or in some cases, no information at all—to parents about the location of their children or when they would be reunited.  The Inspector General found that this failure led to “some parents not understanding that their children would be separated from them and/or being unable to communicate with their children after separation.”

  • During May and June, at the height of child separations, the Trump Administration held nearly one third of separated or unaccompanied children for longer than 72 hours—the maximum period allowed by law without “exceptional circumstances.”

  • The Inspector General found that enforcement of the child separation policy took away critical resources from other DHS missions, including “patrolling and securing the border.”

Click here to read the full report.

115th Congress