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For some reason, Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan is viewed in some quarters as a more trusted voice of reason than other Trump Administration DHS and immigration officials. Yet two new reports detail that McAleenan has been lying through his teeth to justify the Trump Administration’s extremism.
A new NBC News report details that McAleenan knew that a DHS internal investigation had revealed inhumane detention conditions back in May. But just last week — two months after the internal report was delivered to McAleenan — he was offering false reassurances to policymakers and reporters that reports of poor detention conditions were “unsubstantiated.” Here’s how Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff open their expose:
The government’s own internal watchdog warned as far back as May that conditions at an El Paso, Texas, border station were so bad that border agents were arming themselves against possible riots, countering Friday’s assertion by a top Trump administration official that reports of poor conditions for migrants were “unsubstantiated.”
In an internal report prepared by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and obtained by NBC News, inspectors noted during a May 7 tour of a border station in the El Paso sector that only four showers were available for 756 immigrants, more than half of the immigrants were being held outside, and immigrants inside were being kept in cells maxed out at more than five times their capacity.”
…News of the inspector general’s report follows remarks by DHS Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Friday that news stories of poor conditions for children at a border station in the El Paso sector were ‘unsubstantiated.’
McAleenan’s detention lies come after he engaged in similar lying about the rates of appearance at court hearings by asylum seekers. Recent testimony by McAleenan before the Senate included his claim that, “Of over 7,000 families that we put through a process to try to get court results more quickly, 90% did not show up…”
Yet this statistic is incredibly misleading. A June report by the highly respected data-crunchers at Syracuse University’s TRAC shows that the overwhelming majority of asylum-seekers do show up for their hearings. This finding debunks repeated claims made by McAleenan and other Trump administration officials that asylum-seeking families arriving at our southern border abscond — claims used to justify the administration’s failed and cruel strategy.
TRAC, which relies on the government’s own data, studied 47,000 newly arriving families seeking refuge since September 2018 and found that, through the end of May 2019, “almost six out of every seven families released from custody had shown up for their initial court hearing… For those who are represented, more than 99 percent had appeared at every hearing held.”
According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice: “Kevin McAleenan is rightly worried about losing his job because immigration hardliners who guide the President’s strategy on immigration — most importantly Stephen Miller and Breitbart — feel McAleenan is not mean and nasty enough to preside over Trump’s failed and inhumane policies. So McAleenan has been lying through his teeth to Congress and the American people about detention conditions and asylum seekers. McAleenan is anything but an honest broker or good faith actor who deserves any shred of trust. He’s a proven liar who has forfeited any benefit of the doubt and, like everyone in Trump’s orbit, is permanently stained through his association with one of the ugliest humanitarian abuses ever perpetrated by the United States government in recent memory.
“Even after all the shuffling around of personnel and all of the attempts to cover up what is actually happening to detainees and how devoid of humanity the Trump policies are, we continue to see policy makers and journalists in Washington trust administration officials and that has to stop. Now that the administration has won billions in new money to execute their disastrous border strategy with hardly any strings attached to protect detainees, the American people must insist on a new level of accountability and oversight and remain ever vigilant to the Trump administration’s inability to tell the truth.”