Today, Representative Ruben J. Kihuen, along with Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, and fellow Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) met with the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Kirstjen Nielsen.
At the meeting, Members pressed the Secretary about the conditions at the detention facilities, the steps that must be taken to immediately reunite separated children with their parents, and what impact diverting already limited resources from other DHS programs to needlessly separate children from their families is having on national security.
Unfortunately, Secretary Nielsen refused to directly answer these questions and her responses raised even more concerns about the Administration’s lack of transparency and its plans to reunify families before the court-imposed deadline tomorrow.
“Needlessly separating innocent families and treating them like criminals because they are fleeing persecution and seeking a better life is cruel, inhumane, and goes completely against our American values. The Trump Administration needs a reunification plan for these children and they need to ensure these children are being treated humanely. The American people also deserve to know how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent. We’ve heard reports that millions in critical health funding has already been diverted to address President Trump’s self-made crisis. This is unacceptable and poses further detriment to American lives.”
On June 18, 2018, Congressman Kihuen and 12 other Members of Congress including CHC Chairwoman, Michelle Lujan Grisham, and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi visited various immigration detention facilities in San Diego. Rep. Kihuen witnessed first-hand the effects of the Trump Administration’s inhumane “zero-tolerance” family separation policies, meeting with women, men, and children who had been detained at the border.
In Las Vegas, on June 29th, Rep. Kihuen hosted a roundtable discussion on family separation at the border with key stakeholders. Constituents gathered to hear updates from the Congressman, community leaders, lawyers, doctors, and families impacted by the family separation policy.
Congressman Kihuen has cosponsored the Keep Families Together Act and other pieces of legislation that would protect asylum seekers from inhumane and unethical treatment.