House Democrats demand answers about ICE custody of children

Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar says southern border ‘is not secure’ amid record apprehensions and deportations.

House Democrats are demanding answers about how thousands of unaccompanied minors who crossed the southern border illegally were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.

The House Oversight Committee has issued subpoenas asking DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and acting ICE Director Tom Homan for information about their decision-making during the influx, and whether any of the young immigrants were turned over to ICE custody for longer than they otherwise would have been.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement

President Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security has faced criticism for the number of migrant children who have been detained and for detaining children in immigration detention facilities without their parents.

Critics say children are being separated from their parents after crossing the border, and that DHS isn’t taking the necessary steps to ensure they are being properly cared for after being taken into custody.

On Thursday, the House Appropriations Committee is set to hold a hearing on the border crisis, in addition to a hearing on the administration’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018.

“We know that the US Customs and Border Protection is responsible for ensuring that children are in the custody of an agency that is not known for creating children,” said Cuellar, a Texas Democrat and the chair of the committee.

Earlier this week, the Senate also issued a joint statement of concern about the detention of children in Texas.

“We strongly urge ICE to ensure that the children in its custody are being treated with dignity and with compassion,” they said.

“Under law, ICE should not have placed these children, unaccompanied by adults, in the custody of CBP. This is unacceptable and undermines the United States’ national security, integrity and our moral values.”

A CBP statement Thursday said: “We are responsible for ensuring that all migrants are properly processed and that the children within our custody are treated professionally and humanely. We do this

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