Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDemocrats step up pressure on Biden on student loan forgiveness Progressives say go big and make life hard for GOP Warren, Jayapal demand answers on reported judicial ethics violations 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.
“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.”
Incredible exchange.@RepJayapal: “Did you ever say to the administration, this is a bad idea, this is what my child welfare experts have told us, we need to stop this policy? Did you once say that to anybody above you?”— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) February 26, 2019
LLOYD: “I did not say those words.” pic.twitter.com/tH3Uge5pdG
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.