The House Oversight Committee’s oversight to date contradicts the Democrat narrative that the Trump Administration is neglecting separated children at the border.
In fact, the data produced to date show that the Trump Administration has reunited an overwhelming majority of children separated at the border. In addition, the evidence shows that the Trump Admin has been imploring Congress to take action to fix the root causes leading to child separation.
1. Data show that the Administration has reunified an overwhelming majority of
• The Administration has currently identified to the Committee a total of 2,648 children
who were potentially separated at the southern border. To date, HHS has provided
data to the Committee for 1,619 of these 2,648 children.
• According to a staff analysis of this HHS data, out of the 1,619 children, 1,603—or
99 percent—of the children have been discharged from HHS custody.
o Of the 1,603 discharged children, 1,546 children—or 95 percent—were either
reunified with an individual sponsor or released to a parent. Specifically, 1,061
children were released to a parent and 485 children were reunified with an
o Of the remaining 73 children who had not been reunited with an individual
sponsor or released to a parent, HHS provided the following data:
▪ 16 children remain in the care of HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement
(ORR), of which four children were determined to not have been separated
from their parent;9
▪ 21 children sought a voluntary departure, meaning that the child went back to
his or her home country;
▪ 20 children aged out, meaning that these children turned 18 and by law ORR
cannot keep them in their custody;
▪ 8 children were sent to another migrant program;
▪ 6 children went to a DHS family shelter;
▪ 1 child was granted immigration relief; and
▪ 1 child was a runway from an ORR facility.
o A recent federal court filing also shows that ORR has discharged 99 percent
of children from its care since June 26, 2018.10
o According to HHS, children typically remain in ORR care for 60 days,
although the average length of care has expanded to 78 days in fiscal year
2019. The HHS data show that ORR released 53 percent of the separated
children in 60 days or less.
• To date, DHS has produced information on 1,000 children and their parents. The
DHS data show that it referred most of the detained children to ORR within three
days. This data shows that of the 1,000 children, CBP referred 833 children to ORR
within 72 hours.
The Democrats’ analysis relied on a smaller data set of only 862 children.
Even that subset shows that DHS referred 621 children to ORR within 72
• According to DOJ data, only 325 parents or adult companions applied for asylum. Of
those 325 individuals, 30 individuals had their asylum applications denied, 5 were
granted, 4 were withdrawn, and 10 had other dispositions—as of May 17, 2019.16
• Although Democrats allege that 30 children remain separated from their families,
these children remain separated largely because either the parents pose a danger to
their child or the parents have expressed an intent not to reunify with their child.
Although Democrats assert that children continue to be detained in family detention
centers after reunification, the backlog in immigration courts prevents a speedier
disposition. As of April 23, 2019, the backlog in immigration courts had grown to
876,552 pending cases.
Following months of House Democrats’ refusal to address the unprecedented border
security and humanitarian crisis, Congress finally passed a bipartisan emergency border funding
bill to provide crucial resources needed at the border. However, this step does not fix the root
causes of the border crisis.
Former Chief of U.S. Border Patrol and former Director of ICE, Ron Vitello, testified that “[n]ext Spring we’re going to be in exactly the same place we are now if
the law does not change.”
If Democrats are serious about solving the border crisis, they should address the Flores settlement agreement, asylum loopholes, and the other statutory and judicial constructs that incentivize aliens to illegally cross the southern border. In light of these circumstances, the Committee must work to address the root causes of the crisis at the southern border—not seek to mischaracterize facts to advance a partisan political agenda.
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