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As GOP Officials Politicize The Border, A New Watchdog Report Reveals Trump Administration’s Family Separation Policy Was Even More Cruel Than Previously Reported

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Washington, DC –  The discord between harsh reality and Republicans’ cruel theater was on full display yesterday. A report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General was made public which uncovered fresh evidence of the depravity and deceit of the Trump administration. It detailed shocking conduct from 2017-2018 of Trump’s border officials forcibly separating migrant children from their parents, even in instances when deported parents wanted to bring their children with them. It was  also confirmed yesterday that Trump administration officials lied about it when testifying before Congress, according to the same DHS Inspector General’s report.

With this backdrop, a group of GOP Representatives had the gall to travel to the southern border yesterday with a new-found gusto for spotlighting immigration and a so-called “crisis.” Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX), leader of the congressional delegation, appeared on the conspiracy-theory network Newsmax to preview the group’s shameless efforts. “All of this is created by these terrible policies of the Biden administration,” said Babin.” Thank goodness for Newsmax… for showing exactly what these Democrats are capable of — the hypocrisy, the identity politics…outright racism.”

Yes, the GOP is all good with taking migrant children away from their parents and lying to Congress about it. But reuniting families and reversing the inhumane treatment of migrant children? “Terrible policies,” “identity politics,” and “outright racism.” 

Yesterday demonstrated succinctly the effort by Republicans to launder the Trump record of cruelty, to call for children in danger to be sent back to danger while shedding crocodile tears and to deploy extreme hypocrisy and duplicity in service of their political program to block any and all Biden policies.


  • At Least 348 Parents Were Separated From Their Children Without ICE Documenting Whether Those Parents Wanted To Leave Their Children In The U.S., And Some Parents Were Removed Without Their Children Despite Evidence They Wanted To Bring Their Children With Them. “[F]rom the time the Government began increasing criminal prosecutions in July 2017, ICE removed at least 348 parents separated from their children without documenting that those parents wanted to leave their children in the United States. In fact, ICE removed some parents without their children despite having evidence the parents wanted to bring their children back to their home country.” [Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General report, 5/18/21]
  • The OIG Findings Contradict What Senior Officials, Including DHS Secretary Nielsen. Publicly Told Lawmakers At The Time. “The DHS inspector general findings contradict what senior officials said at the time. For example, in December 2018, then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told lawmakers: ‘Every parent had the choice to bring the child back with them when they were removed. The ones who did not bring the children with them made the choice not to have the child accompany them.’” [CNN, 5/24/21]


  • In 2018, Reps. Babin, Hartzler, Griffith, Lesko, Kustoff, Palazzo, McClintock, Carter, and Graves voted to block consideration of a bill prohibiting the Department Of Homeland Security from separating immigrant children from their families. [HR 6136, Vote #285, 6/21/18; CQ, 6/21/18; Congressional Record, 6/21/18]
  • Rep. Babin had nothing to say when asked about the disgraceful family separation policy implemented by President Trump. [Dallas Morning News, 6/19/18]
  • After dodging the issue of family separations and simply saying “This is a difficult issue and the Congresswoman is aware of it,” Rep. Hartzler praised President Trump for ending the very policy he created. [KCUR, 6/18/18; Columbia Daily Tribune, 6/20/18]
  • Rep. McClintock “stood firmly” behind President Trump’s cruel family separation policy, and said if immigrants did not want to be separated from their families they should not break the law. [Sacramento Bee, 6/20/18]
  • Rep. Hagedorn defended the poor treatment of immigrants held in detention and said that individuals in detention “can leave. Nobody is holding them against their will.” [Bring Me The News, 7/5/19]
  • Rep. Herrell released a statement supporting President Trump’s cruel family separation policy and falsely blamed Congress for causing the situation. [Las Cruces Sun News, 6/19/18]


  • Reps. Babin, Hartzler, Bilirakis, Griffith, Lesko, Kustoff, Palazzo, McClintock, Carter, Hagedorn, and Graves voted against a bill in 2019 (HR 6) to offer a pathway to citizenship to more than two million immigrants, including Dreamers. [Vote #240 6/4/19; Washington Post, 6/4/19]
  • Reps. Babin, Hartzler, Bilirakis, Griffith, Lesko, Kustoff, Palazzo, McClintock, Carter, Hagedorn, and Graves voted against a bill to require the Department of Homeland Security to institute basic procedures to give Border Patrol detainees medical screenings within 6 to 12 hours of their apprehension. In September 2019, Reps. Babin, Hartzler, Bilirakis, Griffith, Lesko, Kustoff, Palazzo, McClintock, Carter, Hagedorn, and Graves voted against: “Passage of the bill, as amended, that would require the Homeland Security Department to establish uniform procedures for medical screening of individuals taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol between U.S. ports of entry. It would require that such screenings be conducted by a medical professional within 12 hours for adults and within 6 hours for minors. It would also require DHS to assess capability gaps in the provision of medical screenings, particularly for vulnerable populations.” The bill passed 230 to 184. [HR 3525, Vote #552, 9/26/19; CQ, 9/26/19]
  • Reps. Babin, Hartzler, Bilirakis, Griffith, Lesko, Garcia, Kustoff, Palazzo, Moore, McClintock,  Carter, Hagedorn, Graves, and Herrell voted against two bills this year that would provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of Dreamers, TPS holders, and farm workers. [HR 6, Vote #91; HR 1603, Vote #93; TIME Magazine, 3/18/21]
  • Reps. Babin, Hartzler, Bilirakis, Griffith, Lesko, Kustoff, Palazzo, Moore, McClintock, Carter, and Graves did not sign a Discharge Petition in 2018 that would have brought four immigration bills to the floor for a vote. [Discharge Petition No. 10, 5/9/18
    • The Discharge Petition would have brought the conservative Goodlatte Bill, the Democratic DREAM Act, a Republican leadership sponsored bill, and a bipartisan immigration compromise to the floor under a “Queen of the Hill” rule. “The proposals in Denham’s Queen of the Hill rule are a conservative bill proposed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) that would grant temporary status to so-called Dreamers while imposing a series of restrictive measures on legal and illegal immigration; the Dream Act, which would grant a path to citizenship to at least 1.8 million Dreamers; the USA Act, a bipartisan compromise that would pair Dream Act-like measures with $25 billion in border security; and an open slot for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to propose an immigration bill of his choosing.” [The Hill, 5/17/18