Oversight panel investigating Trump’s family-separation policy to hold first hearing Feb. 7
Washington, DC. – The chairman of the House oversight panel investigating the Trump administration’s child-separation policy, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), announced today that her committee will hold its first hearing on the administration’s controversial policy one week from today.
The announcement comes just one day before the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services is due to turn over dozens of internal documents to DeGette’s committee as part of its ongoing investigation of the administration’s actions.
The hearing, now set to for 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7, will be DeGette’s first as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, which has direct oversight over HHS.
It will also be the first time a House Committee has scheduled to hold a hearing on HHS’s role in carrying out the Trump administration’s controversial policy, despite the enormous public outrage that broke out last year after images of children being separated from their families started appearing on news outlets across the country.
“It has been more than eight months since the Trump Administration’s cruel Family Separation Policy first came to light, shocking the nation with images of children who had been torn apart from their parents,” DeGette said in Thursday announcing the hearing date. “Despite the outrage, the previous Republican majority in Congress did nothing to hold this administration accountable for their actions. Well, that sort of Congressional complacency ends next week when we hold our first oversight hearing of this new Congress on the administration’s inhumane treatment of these families.”
Next Thursday’s hearing will occur exactly three weeks after the HHS Office of Inspector General released its explosive new report that found there may have been thousands more children separated from their families at the border than previously known, during an influx that began in 2017.
One day after that report was released, DeGette sent HHS Acting Secretary Alex Azar a letter demanding his agency turn over a several internal documents detailing the agency’s role in carrying out the administration’s policy.
“We are concerned that instead of prioritizing what is in the best interest of the children in HHS’s custody, you have allowed your agency to be turned into a mechanism for immigration enforcement,” DeGette wrote to Azar
DeGette requested, among other things, that Azar’s agency turn over all documents and communications between HHS, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the White House regarding family separations from May 2017 to June 2018.
Those documents are due to be turned over to the committee tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 1.