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Congressman John Sarbanes

Representing the 3rd District of Maryland

Sarbanes Joins Oversight Committee Democrats in Ramping Up Demands for Hearing on Trump Administration’s Inhumane Child Separation Policy

Democrats Seek Testimony Directly from Sessions, Nielsen, and Azar


Jul 11, 2018
Contact: Daniel Jacobs
(202) 225-4016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined all Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in renewing their request to Chairman Trey to hold a hearing on the Trump Administration’s inhumane child separation policy within the next two weeks with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.

“Since we wrote to you last month, President Trump caved to massive public outrage and bipartisan political pressure to halt his child separation policy,” the Democrats wrote. “However, it has become clear over the past several weeks that the Trump Administration had no plan to reunite these children with their parents at the conclusion of proceedings initiated under the ‘zero tolerance’ policy announced in April.”  

The Members continued: “We do not know whether this was an intentional effort to create a deterrent or a failure to consider the basic human ramifications of their policy. “However, it is obvious that Trump Administration officials gave little or no thought to how they would track and reunite these children with their parents. They also apparently had no regard for the immense toll their actions would take on these children.”

Chairman Gowdy has ignored all previous Democratic requests to investigate this policy or hold a public hearing, including requests on May 22, 2018 and June 17, 2018, and at hearings on other matters on June 19, 2018 and June 27, 2018.

In today’s letter, the Members noted that the Committee has held a series of public hearings on a wide range of topics since they wrote their letter to Gowdy last month, including:

  • “A Review of Various Actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice in Advance of the 2016 Election”
  • “Holding Cuban Leaders Accountable”
  • “Access to Public Lands:  The Effects of Forest Service Road Closures”
  • “Examining the Administration’s Governmentwide Reorganization Plan”

“This issue cries out for a public hearing,” the Democrats wrote. “Members of Congress should have the opportunity to ask basic questions that these officials still have not answered after weeks of chaos. We have an obligation to step in, exercise our responsibilities under the Constitution, and hold Trump Administration officials accountable for their decisions and their actions.”

The Democrats concluded: “Surely, the Trump Administration’s policy of intentionally removing thousands upon thousands of children from their parents’ arms – with no discernable plan for reuniting them – merits at least a single hearing by Congress’ premiere oversight committee.”

See here for the full letter.