Oversight Committee Readies Subpoenas to USCIS and ICE on Deporting Critically Ill Children

Oct 10, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 10, 2019)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, released a memo notifying Committee Members of his intent to issue subpoenas to Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Ken Cuccinelli and Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Matthew T. Albence for testimony and documents on the Trump Administration’s policy of deporting critically ill children and their families.

The Committee has been investigating the Trump Administration’s decision to deport critically ill children since August 2019, shortly after this new policy was adopted.

“Throughout the Committee’s investigation, the Administration has refused to produce requested documents, and agency officials have refused to answer questions regarding why the Administration sought to deport these children, who was responsible for this decision, and how requests for deferred action will be handled going forward,” Chairman Cummings wrote.  “The Administration claimed that it was withholding this information because it was in ‘active litigation’ with a private party—an argument the Supreme Court has rejected as a basis to withhold documents from Congress.”

Following overwhelming objections from this Committee and the American people regarding this policy change, the Administration reversed course on September 19, 2019.

“However, the agencies have continued to refuse to produce the requested documents or make agency officials available to answer the Committee’s questions,” Chairman Cummings wrote.  “The Committee has tried for more than a month to obtain this information voluntarily, but USCIS and ICE have obstructed the investigation.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, has led the Committee’s investigation along with Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Rep. Mark DeSaulnier.

On September 18, 2019, Chairman Raskin requested the testimony of Cuccinelli and Albence at a hearing on September 26, 2019, after the Administration refused to produce information and documents requested on August 30.

The next day, Cuccinelli stated that he would not attend the September 26 hearing, claiming it was on a “resolved issue.” 

Due to the agencies’ refusal to cooperate voluntarily, the Committee postponed the hearing.

The memo was sent by Chairman Cummings to Members of the Committee on Oversight and Reform in accordance with internal protocols.  The Committee intends to issue these subpoenas on Tuesday, October 15, 2019.

Click here to read the memo.

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116th Congress