Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Examined Treatment of Immigrant Children

Jul 10, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (July 12, 2019)—This week, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, convened a hearing examining how the Trump Administration’s deterrence policies are creating a humanitarian crisis and jeopardizing the health and safety of the migrant children and families.


  • Members listened to Yazmin Juárez, who fled violence from Guatemala, describe how her 19-month-old daughter Mariee died after medical neglect and mistreatment in an ICE detention facility.  Although Mariee entered the facility healthy, she fell gravely ill after being exposed to other sick children and died weeks after she was released from custody.


  • Human Rights First President Michael Breen, explained how Central American migrants are not criminals and are dehumanized with phrases such as “catch and release.” He testified: “These are human beings, not trout.  Presenting yourself at a port of entry to seek asylum is exercising your right under international law.  You have not been caught.  You have volunteered yourself.”


  • Mr. Breen, a former U.S. Army officer, also stated that disastrous impacts on law enforcement and military culture is not surprising since they were “asked to do things they were not trained to do.”  He explained, “I can tell you that happened to parts of the U.S. Army. … This is an entirely predictable result of terrible policy decisions, and the Government of the United States should not be placing these men and women in that position.”


  • Texas pediatrician Dr. Carlos Gutierrez testified that under the Obama Administration, he was allowed entry into border patrol stations to help treat the detained children.  Now, he and other volunteer pediatricians have been consistently denied access into the facilities.


  • Multiple witnesses described how the Trump Administration is unnecessarily separating young children who crossed the border from their grandparents, adult sibling, or other primary caretaker and then labeling them “unaccompanied” children.  Clara Long, the acting Deputy Washington Director of Human Rights Watch, noted there “is no law that requires the United States to separate non-parent families at the border.”




Panel 1

Yazmin Juárez

Asylum Seeker and mother of 19-month-old Mariee, who died after detention by ICE


Panel 2

Michael Breen

President and Chief Executive Officer, Human Rights First


Clara Long

Deputy Washington Director, Human Rights Watch


Hope Frye

Executive Director, Project Lifeline


Dr. Carlos Gutierrez

Pediatrician, El Paso’s Children’s Hospital


Ronald D. Vitiello (Minority Witness)

Former Chief, U.S. Border Patrol

Former Acting Director, Immigration and Customs Enforcement



Watch Yazmin Juárez’s testimony.  

Watch Chairman Raskin’s opening statement.

Watch Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s question line.  

Watch Rep. Tlaib’s question line.

Watch Rep. Clay’s question line.

Watch Rep. Pressley’s question line.


116th Congress