DOJ official defends herself over testimony about migrant treatment that went viral

DOJ official defends herself over testimony about migrant treatment that went viral

A senior litigation counsel with the Justice Department is defending herself on social media after going viral in a video of court proceedings arguing that specific items such as soap and toothbrushes would not necessarily be required for some migrant detainees under a 1997 settlement.

Attorney Sarah Fabian went viral last week when she appeared to argue in defense of the Trump administration's operation of facilities that require migrants including children to sleep on concrete floors with just an aluminum foil blanket as covering. NBC News reported Tuesday that Fabian wrote on Facebook that she was sorry that her comments “struck a nerve."


“I think that many many people believe I was in court Tuesday arguing against providing certain hygiene items to kids,” Fabian reportedly wrote in a private Facebook post shared to NBC News by her friends.

“I do not believe that’s the position I was representing," she reportedly added later.

“I will say that I personally believe that we should do our very best to care for kids while they are in our custody, and I try to always represent that value in my work,” she added in the post. “A vast majority of the work that I do is not public, but I strive to help people by my participation in the process.”

Fabian's court appearance was part of the Trump administration's legal effort to overturn a lower court's decision in 2017 that found that a group of migrant children were forced to sleep in conditions not considered "safe and sanitary" under the Flores Settlement, a 1997 court settlement that lays out the guidelines for treatment of migrants in the care of the U.S. government.

The Trump administration has argued that the the 2017 decision, which found that children were given inadequate food and dirty water while being cared for by U.S. officials, imposed “new substantive requirements” not laid out by the 1997 Flores settlement.