Madhuri Singh Grewal Profile picture
Sep 18, 2018 58 tweets 20 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I know in the #Kavanaugh news, this will get lost, but the Senate Homeland Security & Gvtl Affairs Cmte is holding a full committee hearing on family detention *right now.*

I'll be tweeting throughout, and you can watch the hearing here:…
There's a long line outside & many fierce advocates reminding the witnesses and senators that there are still HUNDREDS of children -- who were ripped from their parents arms at the border under Trump's family separation policy -- who still haven't been reunited with their parents
These children include a 2 year old who is in government custody who is deteriorating quickly and indications that the child can no longer recognize the mother's voice. #FamiliesBelongTogether
Instead of discussing why the government hasn't yet reunited these children with their parents, @RonJohnsonWI is kicking things off with charts about the "influx" of asylum-seeking children coming to our borders. He is spending some time on Obama admin policy of family detention.
"This is a problem" says @RonJohnsonWI, speaking of the asylum-seeking families who are coming here seeking refuge. I should remind everyone that we actually have a process that can handle these families. They can go through our asylum process, as laid out by law.
It's not actually a "problem" -- which is a word that @RonJohnsonWI has used now repeatedly, followed by the word "family unit." Please understand: the dehumanization of migrant families -- by referring to them as "problems" & "units" -- is part of how we got to family separation
Now up: @clairecmc: "We don't have all the facts" re @RonJohnsonWI: "We need to get facts straight"
Sen. McCaskill: ICE would need $1.3 bil per year just for fam detention space. It's incredibly expensive. That doesn't even include personnel.

She's trying to get fiscal conservatives to understand how foolish family det'n is, setting aside all the moral/human rights arguments.
Now @ICEgov Matthew Albence up. As he's starting, there is a massive walkout going on behind him.
So many toddlers, teddy bears, and fierce parents & advocates. ✊✊✊
They're walking out to remind us that #FamiliesBelongTogether and, unfortunately, the government is still looking for ways to demonize them and not reunite all 2K+ families they've ripped apart at the border.
I love how Albence was just throwing out ALL THE STATISTICS. Let's talk about how "short" the "stay" in detention is.

Ansly Damus, an asylum seeker, has been detained for ~TWO *YEARS.* We just filed a habeas pet'n:…

Albence says avg is 40 days. 🧐🤨
Now up, Robert Perez of @CBP. Do you think he'll address any of these men & women of CBP and oversight/accountability to ensure "professionalism" of the country's largest fed law enforcement agency?…
Or maybe this?…
Nope - he just talked about the "loopholes." Wish he would've addressed the legal and oversight loopholes that have prevented oversight and accountability of @CBP & corrupt Border Agents.
Now we're on to Joseph Edlow @TheJusticeDept to talk about how Flores is "flawed." Make sure you're also following live tweets from @jenquigley @jbreisblatt @Kat_Obser who will shut down this nonsense
"terminating the [Flores] agreement" and "returning to the rule of law" -- he actually said this in one breath.
Now up @USGAO Rebecca Gambler. Recall that GAO has issued some *fantastic* reports that have pointed out serious flaws in our immigration enforcement and court system. Unfortunately, their important findings have been heavily politicized and viewed through partisan lenses by MOCs
.@clairecmc points out that alternatives to detention are actually effective. Albence reluctantly agrees.
Had to step away for a sec, now it looks like we are onto @senrobportman, who opened w/a quick pitch on his UAC bill
Joseph Edlow @TheJusticeDept keeps saying he "can't speculate" on what would happen if Flores were dismantled. Yet... he keeps speculating.
Now @senrobportman says, "Can you give us a number? ... What resources would be required to reduce the backlog [of immigration cases at EOIR]?"

Sidenote: I want to scream when people talk about expediting cases. Think about speeding up asylum cases: due process is out the window
As a law clerk in an immigration court (that was housed in a detention center about 5 miles from the US-Mex border), I have watched immigration judges adjudicate asylum cases. These cases should not and can not be "sped up." You will absolutely deport people w/legit asylum claims
Albence @ICEgov now talking about Family Case Management Program. He is measuring "success" as removal rates. What. The. Fuck.

I thought "success" was measured by people actually going to their court hearings (i.e. not "absconding" as Albence put it). That rate was over 99%
YES! Sen. Gary Peters calls him out. If FCMP resulted in "only 15 removals" (Albence's words), couldn't you assume that the majority of families just won their asylum claims in immigration court?
Albence pivots to @ICEgov mission being "immigration enforcement" 🤨

Now Peters raises the fact that myriad groups, including SO MANY MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS, oppose family detention for its horrific psychological impact on children.
Those groups include PEDIATRICIANS. I want all parents to think about your child's pediatrician. If he/she asks you to avoid doing something b/c it is in the best interest of your child, would you ignore that advice? That's what our federal government is doing.
Peters was *FANTASTIC*

"What is appropriate time for a child to be detained?"

NOBODY ANSWERED HIM. They all punted.

Albence actually had the audacity to call family detention centers "humane" and claimed the purpose of the proposed Flores regs is not to change those standards.
When they refused to answer Peters, he held up a letter signed by 1200 medical professionals who said that *ANY* length of time in detention (incl short term jailing) would damage children.

So.... the answer is zero. Zero days in detention is the appropriate length of time.
Senator Peters was appalled. Rightfully so. If our government is going to detain children, you'd think their WITNESSES AT A CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ABOUT THE DETENTION OF FAMILIES AND CHILDREN would have given some thought to the Q posed by the senator about the harm to children.
Sen. Hassan is great -- she highlighted the two whistleblowers who worked for @DHSgov who observed conditions in family detention. And then: @ICEgov ITSELF set up an advisory panel to study family detention and found: "DHS should discontinue the general use of family detention"
Hassan asks why ICE supports modifying Flores to allow for indefinite detention. Albence insists "no indefinite detention right now." She corrects his mansplaining. "I understand your current position. But you're here saying that you want us allow for indefinite jailing children"
So many inaccuracies in what @RonJohnsonWI said. But first, he claims that @DHSgov just wants to lift Flores 20 day limit on detaining children but nobody wants indefinite det'n.

YES!! Hassan: "Detentions can become indefinite without caps, without deadlines, without ceilings."
Weirdly, @RonJohnsonWI claims that the 20 day limit forces @ICEgov "to make gut wrenching decision of determining whether this is a parent or a sex trafficker b/c they can't determine parentage in 20 days."

He does realize you can determine parentage within 20 days, right? 🤨
Also, throwing "sex trafficker" was a total red herring. Words like that +"national security" + "transnational gangs" + "criminals" without any accuracy =total recipe for disaster. I'd love a word cloud of the CBP, DOJ, ICE statements. I bet these come up a lot w/o real facts.
Now up @DougJones - points out that immigrants w/counsel are five times more likely to win their cases. YES YES YES

"This is a testament to who is crossing the border and why. We may be deporting folks who have legit asylum claims, simply b/c they don't have access to counsel."
omfg hahahaha I'm dying.

In response, Albence @ICEgov is bragging on EOIR-funded LOP program, which @TheJusticeDept IS TRYING TO DISMANTLE RIGHT NOW.
Edlow is awkwardly trying to respond and I'm cringing.
re: LOP, here's @verainstitute statement on @TheJusticeDept efforts to dismantle LOP…
To be clear, I agree with Albence that LOP is critical. I'm laughing b/c his fellow witness's agency is trying to figure out how to end it. They actually tried to end it earlier this year, but the wrath of hundreds of advocates, lawyers, and appropriators ensured it didn't happen
Also, LOP isn't actually counsel. It's a program at a # of (but *not all*) detention facilities to advise jailed immigrants of basic legal rights. LOP ensures they are advised of basic rights & get a list of local lawyers who *might* be able to help them.
Now up, @SenKamalaHarris who jumps straight to the "summer camp" comment and asks Albence about it. He claims children get Xboxes, it's a dorm-like setting, they're well-fed, etc. Then he gets SUPER DEFENSIVE. She reminds him "this is an oversight hearing" 🔥
Now @CBP Perez says "we're not separating families at the border" anymore.

Harris asks him to clarify whether a single family has been separated since EO.

He says they only separate if there's "safety and well-being" concerns w/r/t to the child. NOW THAT IS A LOOPHOLE.
To be clear, at nearly every hearing (as she mentioned) @SenKamalaHarris has asked for stats on the trafficking concerns that are so often cited by @DHSgov officials when they testify b4 committees. Yet, once again, nobody can actually give her stats on # of trafficking cases.
Threats of "trafficking" were used to justify separating families at the border. Yet nobody can give a sitting US Senator stats on how many trafficking cases have actually been prosecuted.

So when I say "safety and well being of children" is a huge loophole, this is what I mean
Now up @SenatorCarper discussing root causes of migration.
He asks: "Would you support a proposal that provides funding to address the root causes of migration in Central America"

Albence / @ICEgov + Perez / @CBP say yes
Edlow / @TheJusticeDept refuses to answer
Gambler / @USGAO says probably supportive; funding decisions up to Congress
Omg. @RonJohnsonWI "Will you put my blue chart back up there?"
Now he is claiming that in 2014, "we were praising @CBP's efforts, now we're calling them cages, it's the exact same thing."

Hi @RonJohnsonWI! ICYMI 4 yrs ago, here is @ACLU's lawsuit from 2014, suing Obama admin for use of family detention:…
It was wrong then. It's still wrong now.…
Now @RonJohnsonWI pitching the need for Congress to act and asks:

What do you think the likelihood is that the proposed Flores regs go thru notice & comment and put before Judge Gee and the rule is never put put into effect (blocked by the court)?
The reason it would not be put into effect is because the regs failed to comport with the settlement (contrary to what these witnesses claimed the regs do). So if rule fails to ensure "safety and well being of children" (to use many of the witnesses' words), it would be blocked.
What @RonJohnsonWI just did was vilify a federal judge whose mission, via Flores agreement, is to protect children in gvt custody. Thanks to her, kids cannot be held indefinitely in horrifying conditions. She is a necessary check on gvt abuse, not a hindrance to be worked around.
And he closed the hearing on that note. How fitting for this Congress and this administration.
One more thing.

This was one of the most incredible parts of today's hearing. Witnesses seemed COMPLETELY UNAWARE of two @DHSgov whistleblower doctors who have spoken out against family detention.


And this.

Do. Not. Pretend. To. Care. About. Children. When. You. Will. Not. Even. Read. The. Studies.

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