NATIONAL NEWS

House Hearing Grows Heated Over Migrant Children’s Deaths

May 22, 2019, 2:36 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:06 pm
The U.S. Capitol (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Democratic lawmaker on Wednesday blamed the Trump administration’s border policies for the deaths of migrant children, and the acting head of the Homeland Security Department lashed out at the “appalling accusation.”

The brouhaha came at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on the budget for the sprawling law enforcement department, which has seen major upheaval over the past two months following a White House-orchestrated shake-up. Kevin McAleenan, the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, was named to lead the department temporarily following the resignation of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

At the hearing, Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., questioned McAleenan about what he knew of the psychological problems migrant children face when they are separated from their parents. Last year, the administration separated more than 2,500 children from parents as part of a policy to prosecute anyone caught crossing into the United States illegally, but that practice was stopped. Border agents are still allowed to separate children at the U.S.-Mexico border if the adult has a criminal history or there is concern for the health and welfare of the children.

Underwood told McAleenan that “at this point with five children dead and thousands separated, it’s a policy choice being made by this administration, and it’s inhumane.”

McAleenan responded by calling that an “appalling accusation.”

The committee’s top Republican, Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers, accused Underwood of saying the administration was intentionally murdering children.

“I did not say murder,” said the first-term lawmaker who also is a nurse. “I said five children have died as a result of a policy choice.”

The squabbling continued. After a brief recess, Republicans on the Democratic-run committee were able to push through a vote to admonish Underwood. Her statement was stricken from the official hearing record and she was barred from talking during the rest of the session.

McAleenan testified that more money was needed to help manage the immigration crisis, where vast numbers of Central American families are entering the U.S., straining resources. There have been more than 100,000 border crossings per month the past two months, a 12-year high. The families crossing require different care from single adults and can’t be easily returned over the border.

“We continue to face tragedies on the border,” McAleenan said. He also cited the recent deaths of two teenagers and the drowning death of a 10-month-old baby who was on a raft trying to cross the Rio Grande with his parents when it overturned. Border Patrol agents pulled some of the group to safety.

Rep. Nanette Barragán, D-Calif., said the separation of families and what she described as false claims by administration officials over the practice and other border policies have helped foster the notion that what is happening is intentional.

“It’s a belief based on all the lies that have been out in the public,” she said.

She said McAleenan should not be proud of the work his agencies are doing, given the death of children “under your watch.”

The U.S. government has faced months of scrutiny over its care of children it apprehends at the border. On Wednesday, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and 23 other Democratic or independent senators asked International Committee of the Red Cross and homeland security’s inspector general to investigate the conditions of facilities.

On Monday, a 16-year-old Guatemala migrant died after being held for six days — twice as long as federal law generally permits.

A 2-year-old child died last week after he and his mother were detained by the Border Patrol. The agency said it took the child to the hospital the same day the mother reported he was sick, and he was hospitalized for several weeks.

Another teenager died April 30 after officials at a Health and Human Services Department detention facility noticed that he was sick.

Two small children, ages 7 and 8, died in December in separate incidents. Following those deaths, Homeland Security ordered medical checks of all children in its custody and expanded medical screenings.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

An Iowa Alzheimer's care facility is facing a $10,000 fine after pronouncing a woman dead who was l...
Hannah Sarisohn

Residential care facility faces fine after woman pronounced dead found gasping for air in body bag

An Iowa Alzheimer's care facility is facing a $10,000 fine after pronouncing a woman dead who was later found alive when a funeral director unzipped her body bag, according to documents from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.
17 hours ago
Three bodies found on Feb. 2 in the Detroit area are believed to be those of three rappers who have...
Joe Sutton and Emma Tucker

Bodies found in apartment identified as 3 Michigan rappers missing for almost 2 weeks, police say

Three bodies found in the Detroit area this week were identified by authorities Friday as those of three rappers who were missing for almost two weeks, according to Michigan State Police.
17 hours ago
Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, in Vis...
Associated Press

Authorities: 2 arrested in California shooting that killed 6

A California sheriff says two gang members suspected in the massacre of six people last month in central California have been arrested, one after a gunbattle.
17 hours ago
Davion Irvin was arrested late Thursday night and charged with six counts of animal cruelty-non-liv...
Chris Boyette and Vivian Kuo

Suspect arrested in case of tamarin monkeys missing from Dallas Zoo, police say

A 24-year-old man has been arrested in Dallas and charged in connection with the suspected theft of a pair of emperor tamarin monkeys that were recovered unharmed this week in an abandoned home a day after they vanished from the Dallas Zoo, police said.
17 hours ago
A suspected Chinese high altitude balloon floats over Billings, Montana, on February 1. (Larry Maye...
Oren Liebermann, Haley Britzky, Michael Conte and Nectar Gan, CNN

Pentagon tracking suspected Chinese spy balloon over the US

The U.S. is tracking a suspected Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon over the continental United States, defense officials said on Thursday.
17 hours ago
This booking image provided by the Chicago Police Department, shows Eva Bratcher, who has been accu...
Associated Press

Daughter charged after mom’s body found in Chicago freezer

A Chicago woman is accused of keeping her mother’s dead body in a freezer for nearly two years while living in a nearby apartment.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
House Hearing Grows Heated Over Migrant Children’s Deaths