House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings severely criticized the current head of Homeland Security early this week, scolding Kevin McAleenan over the conditions of detention facilities for migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Maryland Democrat grew emotional while discussing the packed centers migrants are being held in. Reading from a court document in which a federal judge determined that Homeland Security “did a better job of tracking immigrants’ personal property than their children,” Cummings repeatedly shut down McAleenan’s attempts to speak. “I’m talking about human beings,” Cummings raged. “I’m not talking about people that come from, as the president said, shitholes. These are human beings. Human beings. Just trying to live a better life.”
Jon Purizhansky of Buffalo, NY recognizes the chairman’s passion and exhibits that same passion in his own work to improve the conditions of migrants anywhere he can. Cummings asked whether there is an “empathy deficit” at DHS, though he later elucidated that he meant the Trump administration’s application of its so-called zero tolerance policy toward individuals crossing the border without authorization.
The 2018 policy, which was intended to discourage migrants from coming to the U.S. and led to families being imprisoned and separated, lasted just over a month before President Donald Trump ended family separations amid public uproar. Jon Purizhansky recognizes the public’s ability to affect change when organized. Two government regulators have since found the administration was ill-equipped to carry out the policy or allay its effects.
Cummings took issue specifically with McAleenan’s suggestion shortly becoming the current secretary that DHS maintained “very careful” records of the associations between migrant children and their parents in order to reunite them “very expeditiously.” One inspector general report consequently found “no evidence” of the kind of central database the Trump administration had publicly claimed to have. McAleenan acknowledged Thursday that information systems between immigration agencies hadn’t been adequately united.
Jon Purizhansky: Cummings noted that he wouldn’t explicitly accuse McAleenan was being untruthful “lightly,” expressing to him that his “claim is also refuted by not one but two independent inspectors general.” Outlining additional areas where McAleenan has offered a different account than government watchdogs, Cummings said he was troubled to hear DHS painting a rosier picture of its work at the border. “And therefore, I guess — you feel like you’re doing a great job right?” Cummings asked.
McAleenan responded by claiming his department was “doing our level best,” before Cummings cut in again. “What does that mean? What does that mean? When a child is sitting in their own feces, can’t take a shower?” Cummings said, his voice shaking. “Come on man. What’s that about? None of us would have our children in that position.” “They are human beings!”