Dem erupts at Trump official over family separations

Dem erupts at Trump official over family separations
© Greg Nash

Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Buttigieg targets Warren, Sanders on health care ahead of debate | Judge overturns ObamaCare transgender protections | Poll sees support drop for 'Medicare for All' Democrats see whistleblower report as smoking gun House Democrats say memo of Trump call bolsters impeachment case MORE (D-Wash.) blasted the former head of the Health and Human Services (HHS) refugee office over his response to the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy at a congressional hearing on Tuesday. 

“You did not put into place any policies that would pull this…horrendous policy back,” Jayapal told Scott Lloyd, who led the HHS refugee office while it took custody of thousands of immigrant children who were separated from their families.

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“Did you ever say to the administration, 'This is a bad idea, here’s what my child welfare experts have told us, we need to stop this policy?'" she asked Lloyd at a House Judiciary Committee hearing. "Did you once say that to anybody above you?” 

"I did not say those words," Lloyd responded to Jayapal's inquiry.

Jayapal called his response "outrageous" and said she was upset because “people are not taking this seriously in terms of the deep, long-term effects on these children.”

The administration's "zero tolerance" policy represented a decision to prosecute all families, even those with young children, who illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. Once these families were incarcerated, the children were separated from their parents.

Thousands of families were separated before the "zero tolerance" policy was reversed amid bipartisan outcry. Many of them remain divided.