Why did admin think seizing kids from parents was acceptable?
Who was responsible for developing policy?
What are you doing to reunify all separated families?
What plans in place to repair trauma to children as result of policy?
A good time to remind everyone CBP's own numbers show vast majority of illicit drugs cross border at legal ports of entry, smuggled in trailers and passenger vehicles.
Of 2,816 total:
-2155 reunited with parent from whom they were separated
-580 placed with family sponsor (not parent)
-39 still in ORR care bc parents were deported and waived reunification, kids on pathway to placement with sponsor in US
-5 still in care whose parents waived reunification (here in US I believe?)
-5 who might still be reunited. *these 5 are the only outstanding cases*
--per Cmdr White.
Provost: we did not have searchable field focused specifically on separation. every separation we have done during that time and since has had alien registration tied with parent to child.
Provost: "Reunification is not something that Border Patrol handles. We handle the apprehension and the transfer."
June 2018: 9k families
Feb 2019: already over 30k
at #familyseparation hearing happening now.
Lofgren asks for documents related to that.
White says he's "confident" HHS will provide those documents.
Cmdr White: in context of federal judge's order, we weren't permitted to use DNA testing...but for other cases...
When documents are unavailable, we use DNA testing as 2nd line method.
Cites past report that he instructed staff to stop updating spreadsheet tracking separations.
Lloyd: that was incorrect reporting. i did not make that order.
"For instance, three individuals with knowledge of the operation said Lloyd made decisions that complicated reunifications. For instance, Lloyd directed his staff to stop keeping a spreadsheet tracking separated families."
*(also worth noting in May 2018, AG Sessions "re-opened" 350,000 cases that had previously been closed) vox.com/2018/5/21/1737…)
DOJ's McHenry: currently in litigation, can't speak to that.
Johnson: to address shortage, signed 5-yr contract $297m contract to recruit and hire new agents
Provost: believe it goes up to that amount
Johnson: only processed 2 accepted job offers
Provost: dont know - thats HR issue.
Cmdr White: pushes back that those are HHS staff (says they are not)
Cmdr White: obvs in transit, but that's not the point...we don't set for ourselves the standard to do better than smugglers and traffickers.
CBP Provost: we had "prosecution initiative" where we worked with DOJ, in that some parents were prosecuted, and separations occurred.
CBP head Provost; we'd have to do manual count.
(in short: govt has #'s since June 26th, when federal judge ordered reunifications, but no idea about separations before then)
Provost: CBP agents make initial determination,
Raskin: do parents have opp to be heard? can they appeal
Provost: yes / yes, we provide info to HHS.
Raskin: do you have written guidance for agents?
Provost: we can provide.
CBP chief provost: Zero Tolerance in place May 5 - June 20. Family units made up 40% of our apprehensions. Just 10% of prosecutions - individuals that had children with them.
Lloyd: I accepted what he told me. //He reported what consequences would be and I heard him.
Jayapal: after you were warned about impact, did you ever express concern to anyone?
Lloyd: i did not say those words.
White: I defer to Provost. Those were in CBP custody, not ORR.
Demings: you weren't doing that before?
Provost: that is correct.
(note: this is AFTER zero tolerance)
Rep Garcia: did you ever object to your superiors, that #familyseparation was harmful? as a human being? (presses each member of panel to answer)
Fmr ORR Lloyd: i did not say anything along those lines.
ICE Asher: i did not voice in that exact term. many of my officers parents too. of course its difficult.
CBP Provost: this is difficult situation. but as law enforcement its our job to enforce law.
DOJ's McHenry: out of every 100 credible fear claims, only about 8-10 end up getting asylum. Definitely an area of concern.
Lloyd (reiterates): that's not true.
CBP Provost: agents are trained how to deal with family units. every year, folo law, training TVPRA/Flores (care of detained children)
CBP Provost: allegations taken v seriously. all investigated.
CBP head Provost: my agents are compassionate law enforcement professionals, trained to deal with v difficult situation. if that were to occur, allegations were made, it would be investigated.
Cmdr White: i cannot speak to the intention. the effect on children is my area of concern, and that effect was negative.
Lloyd: came to ORR after time with knights of columbus, displaced populations in Iraq (not physically) and Syria, to investigate crimes they experienced at hands of ISIS. also experience as teacher.
Lloyd: not accurate characterization. not sure what you're talking about.
Dean: presses for answer
Lloyd: list that included women, mentioned their last period, way of tracking how long they've been pregnant
Lloyd: not true
Dean: instructed staff to keep pregnant minors fro meeting with attorneys?
Lloyd: one instance we said for brief period of time bc wouldnt have been appropriate.
Lloyd: we do assess mental health of every child in custody within 24 hrs of them arriving in our care - both group and individual care. ongoing throughout their care in ORR.
CBP Provost: dont have that # with me. it's a number i can get.
Kids start at 630am dont get to bed until 10pm
high fencing around
definitely feels like a prison
kids housed in area 144 kids in one area with numbers
i believe we are committing a crime against humanity
ICE Asher: no instructions. but we had 3 diff agencies involved. systems silo'd. had to do manual crosschecks.
"I see the policy as designed to deliver a consequence for violating the law."
ICE Asher: when multi-agencies involved, systems dont talk to each other, we do need funding...we manage to best of abilities with system we have. We need IT monetization systems can talk to each other across agencies
CBP Provost: don't know number but yes declined
Lieu: vast majority of illicit drugs thru legal ports of entry?
Provost: that data reflects seizures - it's the unknown, that's what keeps me up at night.
ICE Asher: dispute that. no $ transaction. w/o details can't respond.
It took 2 months to reunite Juliet with her mom, from whom she was separated at the border.