This week and last, revelations shed additional light on the Trump administration’s cruelty, incompetence and cover up with regards to its immigrant family separation policy. Details in oversight hearings point to official deception that hides the destructive policies of the Trump Administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies — Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection. These revelations include shocking levels of cruelty, mistreatment, and incompetence.
Next week, it is DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s turn to face tough questions from the Committee on Homeland Security. Members of Congress from both parties must focus on real accountability and oversight, seeking to cut through ongoing lies and excuses from the Trump administration.
Among the new and ongoing areas of focus crying out for additional answers include:
Following a January HHS report, which revealed that thousands of families had been separated prior to the official announcement of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy, DHS officials continue to drag their feet as Oversight Committee members attempt to find answers and hold the administration accountable for ripping apart thousands of families without any process or tracking mechanisms.
Unchecked Death, Mistreatment, Abuse in ICE, CBP and HHS Detention Facilities
Meanwhile, reports continue to surface of hundreds of families that are still being separated at the border despite an “end” to the family separation policy, and the administration continues to deny their incompetence and cruelty. In addition, thousands of reports of sexual abuse and harassment were made against HHS and DOJ officials by unaccompanied minors in detention over the last four years, as Axios reported. The mistreatment of is children and families in the government’s care has been a constant problem.
CBP Agents Feed Pork to Muslim Detainee
One of the most egregious examples came to light in a devastating HuffPost article in which reporter Roque Planas exposes the mistreatment of Adnan Asif Parveen by CBP officials who detained him for six days, despite having a legal work permit.
According to Planas:
Adnan Asif Parveen found himself lying on the cold floor of a Border Patrol detention facility with an aluminum sheet for a blanket.
Even if he hadn’t been crammed into a gated room with three dozen migrants recently arrested at the border, it would have been difficult to sleep. His wife didn’t know where he was. And he had barely eaten. For the six days he spent in Border Patrol’s custody last month, he said the only food he received was a pork sandwich every eight hours. He explained that as a Muslim, he had to refuse. When the guards offered nothing else, he picked off the meat and ate just the bread.
According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:
Under the Trump administration, ICE and CBP officials have gone unchecked for far too long. The ongoing cruelty and mistreatment of detainees, the unjust separation of immigrant families, and the appalling alleged sexual abuse of migrant youth in detention is a dark moment in American history. Members of the Committee on Homeland Security must be prepared to challenge the DHS Secretary and hold her accountable. It’s imperative that Secretary Nielsen take responsibility for allowing DHS agencies to carry out rampant and ongoing abuse of immigrants and immigrant families and be truthful about what happened and what is still happening.
The brutal conditions of those in detention are putting migrant lives in danger. It’s time Congress puts an end to the deliberate and barbaric cruelty coming from Trump and his administration and their efforts to deny their responsibility.