Josh Breisblatt Profile picture
Jul 31, 2018 96 tweets 36 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
As we wait for the @senjudiciary hearing to get started, see @immcouncil full statement for today's hearing on the Trump administration's separation of families →
@senjudiciary @immcouncil And we are underway with @ChuckGrassley making his opening statement, calls the family separations an "unintended consequence" of the "zero tolerenace" policy. Wow. That is just not true. Sessions when he announced the policy stated unapologetically that separations WOULD happen
.@ChuckGrassley says he is "disturbed" by the allegations that ICE officers coerced parents into signing away rights they did not understand, see more on this here
Unfortunately now @ChuckGrassley is now talking about the need to overturn the Flores Settlement. One step forward, two steps back so far with Grassley.
.@ChuckGrassley says he does not want to change the standards of care under Flores. He says he does not want families held for long periods of time or indefinitely. Grassley's solution is put people on the detained docket to speed up their case. This is bogus for a few reasons..
First, this means still overturning Flores to hold them for longer. Second, if you had thousands of people to the detained docket, it no longer is going to be fast. Third, families SHOW up to their hearings. Alternatives to detention do work and can be used.
.@ChuckGrassley is clearly upset though about the standards and lack of quality of care for parents and children. He calls the conditions "abuse" says he is troubled by the reports. Feinstein and Grassley have a joint letter to the Inspector Generals to look into this.
And now @SenFeinstein is up to give her opening statements. Feinstein calls the policy "immoral" and a "betrayal of American values." Saying there was no real plan to reunite these families...
.@SenFeinstein now going through the requirements imposed on the administration under the @ACLU case. She said she hopes today the admin actually has some real answers.
.@SenFeinstein making the IMPORTANT point about those that are not eligible, that we know next to nothing about those cases and what those "red flags" were. Now discussing the horrifying coercion going on by @ICEgov
.@SenFeinstein really hammering the administration for its lack of preparation, deleted files, and horrible conditions this administration is subjecting these families to. Says administration "cannot be trusted"
.@SenFeinstein is working on a bipartisan bill with other members of the Judiciary committee that would not allow family separations, provide more judges and attorneys to these families and hold them in more sanitary conditions. She is hopeful they are close to an agreement.
.@JohnCornyn now up to give his opening statement. Cornyn goes partisan right away, and attacking democrats. Despite Grassley and Feinstein working in a bipartisan way. Very unfortunate.
.@JohnCornyn praising border patrol, calls Manny Padilla his "personal expert" He runs Border Patrol in the RGV. He is constantly attacking Democrats and defending the administration at every turn. A major departure from Grassley. This is unfortunate
Cornyn now trying to bring in abolish ICE when talking about the border. It is unclear if @JohnCornyn understands that ICE is at the interior.
.@JohnCornyn now doing a full-throated defense of the administration's "zero tolerance" policy. He is showing why no one trusts him on #immigration. He is being a partisan hack
.@JohnCornyn is now railing about how we should have passed his bill he worked on with the White House to cut legal #immigration by 50%, build a border wall and other horrible asylum changes. That bill got less than 40 votes. So I guess he is mad at this own party?
Now up @SenatorDurbin who is showing pictures of @DHSgov Secretary tweets claiming they had no policy to separate families. He is extremely angry.
.@SenatorDurbin is calling on @DHSgov Nielsen to step down. "Someone has to accept responsibility." "We can be safe without treating children like terrorists."
Now @SenatorDurbin is doing a full defense of the Flores Settlement. Saying this is the last thing we should be changing.
Durbin: We should be using alternatives to detention. They are effective, cheaper and more efficient. Says we should be passing the Fair Day in Court Act, which would give kids an attorney for their #immigration hearing. Yes, children do not currently get counsel. It is horrible
Durbin: "We do not need internment camps again." Talks about the need for more judges and additional bills his colleagues have introduced which we should pass now.
And now we will get to the witnesses. You can see the witnesses and the hearing here:…
First up is Carla Provost, she is the acting chief of the Border Patrol, which is part of @CBP. She is going to focus on the CBP consequence delivery system. As she speaks, a massive walk out of mothers and children is occurring. You can hear babies crying in the background
Acting BP Chief Provost is going to try and pretend this is nothing new, that this has happened before. What she is ignoring, is there was never a policy targeting parents like this that would result in separations. So this is misleading at best.
.@CBP is now going to pretend they do not "detain" people because they are required to move people out of their custody in 72 hours. However, @immcouncil lawsuit on CBP conditions tells a different story:…
.@ICEgov head of ERO Matt Albence is up. He will be unapologetic in his defense of @ICEgov.
Albence us trying hard to deflect here. He is talking about @ICEgovs work that has nothing to do with family separation. He is talking about their interior enforcement work
and now 3 minutes in he gets to family separation. He is literally just going through the process and a timeline. He is not actually commenting on anything. He has said nothing about @ICEgov coercive practices. How they are only reuniting if they can deport ASAP.
You can see more on @ICEgov abhorrent tactics here:
Without any data or facts, Albence is now claiming the court order has forced ICE to release families and people are missing their check-ins. Literally he has no stats on how many check-ins have been missed if any. Just trying to push his narrative.
The HHS official almost hilarious is going out of his way to say he is a career official and has worked under 3 Presidents. Basically hoping Senators will go easy on him.
He is also going through the painstaking process of pointing out most people HHS cares for came as unaccompanied and are not the result of separations. Today HHS has 11,316 minors in their care
And now the head of @DOJ_EOIR McHenry will speak. EOIR has done all it can to strip #immigration judges of this judicial independence this year:…
It appears McHenry is here to defend DOJ generally. He points out that DOJ still has a "zero tolerance" policy but he does not mention, that they can only prosecute who is referred to them. So this in reality means nothing if ended
He is also now claiming that you can be prosecuted for an entry related offense, they still can make their asylum claim. You can learn more about the process in @immcouncil fact sheet:…
The reality is, the practice violates international law. The US is a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention, which precludes nations from penalizing individuals requesting protection from persecution or torture in their country of origin. But @DOJ_EOIR does not seem to care
Now up Jennifer Higgins from @USCIS who is now going through the process they follow to conduct credible fear interviews. You can learn about it with @immcouncil fact sheet here:…
Alright and now finally after 1 hour of statements we get to senators asking questions. @ChuckGrassley is up first.
.@ChuckGrassley immediately goes after @ICEgov for its conditions in family detention facilities. Wants to know what ICE does to prevent abuse of these families, how they investigate allegations.
Albence just said they have a rigorous process and oversight of DHS facilities. That is not true. The @DHSgov Inspector General did this report just LAST MONTH:…
Disgustingly, Albence just called family detention facilities, "summer camps." Lets take a look at just some complaints from @immcouncil…
.@ChuckGrassley quickly moves on to other questions, discussing the issue of coercion by @ICEgov. Asks directly, are @ICEgov officers coercing parents. Albence says no, he constantly cites, they have attorneys, except this is a lie..
We know only 14% of individuals held in @ICEgov detention actually get an attorney…
.@SenFeinstein now up. She is focused on HHS. Feinstein originally passed the law that created the foundation for the standards we have for unaccompanied kids today.
Feinstein is really working the HHS official to explain the process in detail and how this process works, especially at it relates to the separations, reunifications. He does not have all the answers, unsurprisingly
.@senorrinhatch is up now, he says Trump did the right thing in ending the family separations. He will be following up this week on the reunification efforts.
.@senorrinhatch applauds the bipartisan efforts that are underway to pass legislation addressing this.
Hatch now asking leading questions about the requirements of the need to release families as a result of the Flores settlement.
.@senorrinhatch now asks about alternatives to detention program. Albence admits the program HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL. He quickly pivots and says @ICEgov is focused on removals.
Albence hilariously does not address Hatch's question which is if we added more people to alternatives to detention would it make the program less effective. Bottom line is even @ICEgov has to admit alternatives work. So detention is NOT necessary
Now up @SenatorLeahy who starts in on @CBP asking what guidance they had on reunifications. The answer is none essentially, after Provost tried to dodge the question
Now @SenatorLeahy with a chart that has "Tips: Percent Infant Abductions" He points out Chucky-Cheese has a process matching kids and parents.
.@SenatorLeahy is getting very frustrated that no one can answer him as to why we could not match parents and kids. And how could it be that there are parents we do not know where they are. @ICEgov unapologetically says if they are deported they do not know where they are
.@SenatorLeahy now ripping into @ICEgov tip line as to why when you call it the first option is to report an undocumented immigrants and #8 is gang activity. Seems like priorities are out whack
.@JohnCornyn is now up and starts by asking about transnational gangs. The first senator to not focus on family separation in his first question..
Now @JohnCornyn asks about abolishing @ICEgov which has nothing to do with this hearing and no one else has brought up except him.
.@JohnCornyn now saying UACs are used as a distraction to get drugs into the country. Except we know that actually the overwhelming majority of drugs come through ports of entry:…
Now up... @SenatorDurbin asks about Judge Sabraws ruling and if anyone at HHS was consulted. He said there had been policy discussions for OVER a year on this but was not consulted beforehand when it happened.
.@SenatorDurbin going after Albence and asking if they have documents that actually show parents were deported and chose not to take their kids. He then emphasizes the issue of coercion..
Now up @GrahamBlog he is focused on unaccompanied children and returning them to their home countries. He is asking about the difference between the US + Canada and the rest of the world
Unfortunately @GrahamBlog does not understand Asylum law. He needs to read @immcouncil Asylum fact sheet:…
He is asking lots of legal questions to government officials who are not lawyers. The witnesses are doing a horrible job explaining the process and frustrating @GrahamBlog who is not getting the numbers he is asking for.
.@SenWhitehouse is now up and going around asking each panelist what went wrong. @ICEgov feels nothing did. HHS admits what went wrong is kids who came with parents were separated. Basically saying the admins policy was wrong...
Sorry I stepped away for a second but @SenThomTillis is up and asking questions now.
.@amyklobuchar is now up talking about here experience down at the border in recent weeks and months. She is getting choked up talking about it
Klobuchar is asking about how we are reunifying parents who have been deported with their kids. @ICEgov claims they cannot answer due to the litigation
.@amyklobuchar asking important questions on Matter of AB. @USCIS is saying it is TOO SOON to know if it will have an impact of domestic violence and gang related claims. That all adjudications are made on a case by case basis
.@amyklobuchar says the policy change is unprecedented and she wants answers on this
Now up @maziehirono who is asking about reunification process. And if there was a plan for reunification
Hirono now going after the characterization that family detention is like a "summer camp." Hirono now asks each of them if they would send their kids to family detention. None of them will answer
and now @tedcruz who opens by thanking @ICEgov and @DHSgov generally
Cruz asks about migration flows at the border. @CBP gives a decent answer acknowledging the unknown of a new admin and then push and pull factors. Now Cruz on to the theme of cartels, just like Cornyn
Cruz says he has his legislation and is in talks with democrats on bipartisan legislation because there is agreement that families should not be separated. Big thing here is though.. Cruz wants to detain indefinitely and end Flores.
Now up @ChrisCoons says administration has "intentionally inflicted" this on families. Coons is frustrated about the lack of transparency on process and data.
.@ChrisCoons with 13 other Senators, 7 Rs and 6 other Ds sending a letter to DHS, HHS and DOJ about timely reports to congress on relevant information.
Coons has asked a variety of questions on support, transparency, accountability. Coons says orgs are ready to help but they need more timely information.
Coons also asked some good questions related to phone access at these facilities. HHS did not have the best answers
Now up @CoryBooker who is talking about his experience in Texas and crossing over into Mexico.
Booker is talking about asylum seekers and how they are turning away asylum seekers who are seeking asylum. Who are coming to PORTS of ENTRY just like @DHSgov asked them to.
Booker wants to know why is this happening. He is going to ask is this a space issue? That is what he has heard but he has questions and doubts. It is important to know this practice is illegal. See @immcouncil litigation on this:…
.@CoryBooker asks @ICEgov if they are working with @CBP to make sure there is space for asylum seekers. Albence says yes they have bed management. But Booker is asking who about priorities and discretion.
Albence says it is a resources issue. Booker says if that is right lets work on this. Booker thinks this is a priorities issue. He says the priorities is creating a chill where people are now afraid to report crime
.@CoryBooker: "Cant you do a better job prioritizing the people actually threatening our country?"
Albence: claims they do priortize but then goes on to say they pick up "collaterals" AKA people with no convictions at all
Now up @SenBlumenthal, FYI it appears Rs have decided to leave this hearing except for @ChuckGrassley
.@SenBlumenthal asks two questions, raise your hand if you think "zero tolerance" or "family separation" has been a success. NO ONE raises their hand.
He then asks who is responsible for this then?!?! After a long silence, they say that Attorney General Sessions issued the memo.
He then asks did anyone raise concerns? ORR says yes, they raised concerns about family separation, bed capacity and their ability to do with this. Also concerns of best interest of the child. AKA children would be harmed
.@SenBlumenthal: Asks if anyone is planning to appeal the Flores decision. DOJ says they are considering it, but wont say more
Blumenthal asks for a variety of other data the admin does not have and ends that this has been a failure and was a separation policy not some byproduct. He calls it kidnapping or child abuse
Now up @KamalaHarris: Calls this policy a "human rights violation" Says @DHSgov Nielsen should step down.
Harris is peppering HHS with questions on the process and demanding update numbers.
.@KamalaHarris asks the KEY question about phone calls. Gets @ICEgov to admit that they charge PARENTS for phone calls to their kids. It costs 85 cents a minute at Otay Mesa.
.@KamalaHarris now asks about the work programs that exist at places like Otay Mesa where workers are paid $1 a DAY for labor performed.
Albence at @ICEgov responds that many volunteer to pass the time.. cc @ImmCivilRights
.@KamalaHarris asks about numbers of pregnant women in detention, Albence does not have exact numbers for this year but will get back to her. Harris also wants to know the number of women in the 3rd trimester who are in detention
And this hearing is adjourned... After 3.5 hours.

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More from @jbreisblatt

Sep 18, 2018
Going to do a little live tweeting of today's #HSGAC hearing on the Flores Settlement which the administration and @RonJohnsonWI are looking to overturn so they can get the asylum system and hold children indefinitely in detention
@RonJohnsonWI @immcouncil and @AILANational have a statement for today's hearing which you can see here…
Currently @RonJohnsonWI is doing all he can to say why he thinks the Flores settlement is bad and how he thinks it incentivizes #immigration. He is doing a great job showing he doesnt know what he is talking about. Migrants do not know about the TVPRA or Flores...
Read 67 tweets

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