DeLauro Pushes HHS, DHS for Family Reunification Status Update
WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kristjen Nielsen requesting further information regarding their agencies’ plans to reunite children who have been separated from their families at the border due to the Trump Administration’s Zero Tolerance policy.
“I remain deeply troubled by reports of chaotic attempts to reunify parents and children that were separated at the border as result of the Zero Tolerance policy,” said DeLauro. “Furthermore, I am concerned that even as the Administration works to reunify families, it continues to deport adults and family members who had children taken from them, reducing their chances of reunification even further.”
“Since the President's Executive Order was signed on June 20, 2018, the Administration has repeatedly indicated that families would be reunited, claiming that ‘Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) have a process established to ensure that family members know the location of their children and have regular communication after separation to ensure that those adults who are subject to removal are reunited with their children for the purposes of removal.’ The hastily-signed order provided no clarity on how to reunify families, or how to handle families that have already been separated or new families that cross the border seeking asylum,” continued DeLauro. “Officials within the Office of Refugee Resettlement have been quoted eight days from the July 10, 2018 deadline for reunification that ‘it has been really difficult to start the reunification process because we just don’t have a lot of direction from leadership.’ I urge DHS and HHS to work as swiftly as possible to reunite these families."
The full text of the letter is below, and a copy of the signed letter can be found here. DeLauro serves as Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee responsible for funding the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.