Democrat grills DHS chief over viral image of drowned migrant and child

Democrat grills DHS chief over viral image of drowned migrant and child
© Aaron Schwartz

Rep. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyHistory in the House: Congress weathers unprecedented week Democrat grills DHS chief over viral image of drowned migrant and child Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers struggle to understand Facebook's Libra project | EU hits Amazon with antitrust probe | New cybersecurity concerns over census | Robocall, election security bills head to House floor | Privacy questions over FaceApp MORE (D-Va.) grilled acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan during a hearing Thursday over a viral image of a Salvadoran man and his 23-month-old daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande.

Connolly, a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, asked McAleenan during a hearing if he agreed with comments by acting Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli that the pair died because the father “didn’t want to wait.”

The Democratic lawmaker noted that the migrant, Oscar Alberto Martinez, had drowned while attempting to rescue his daughter Angie Valeria after she tried to follow him back across the river.

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“I think what happened to Oscar and Valeria is a tragedy [and] they deserve better,” McAleenan said in response, repeating his call for an overhaul of the asylum application process.

Asked by Connolly whether he would have jumped into a river to save one of his own children, McAleenan responded that he would have.

Connolly also questioned McAleenan on a case in which an 8-month-old Honduran child was separated from his father and spent six months in a facility in Arizona while his father was deported after two months.

McAleenan responded that he did not know all the details of the specific case but said that in such circumstances, it was likely because of another issue relating to the father.

Rep. Chip RoyCharles (Chip) Eugene RoyGOP lawmaker blasts Omar and Tlaib: Netanyahu right to block 'enemies' of Israel The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 Democrats step up attacks ahead of Detroit debate Conservatives call on Pelosi to cancel August recess MORE (R-Texas), in his own questioning of McAleenan, asked the Trump official to confirm that the number of border personnel currently needed to work on housing or care are diverting resources from border security, which McAleenan agreed with.

Roy went on to claim that House Democrats “don’t give a damn about the migrants coming here and they prefer to use children as political props,” prompting Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsHouse committee heads demand Coast Guard Academy explain handling of harassment allegations Can the Democrats unseat Trump? Democrats slam alleged politicization of Trump State Department after IG report MORE (D-Md.) to warn that committee members “need to be careful about the motives of our members, and that goes to both sides.”

Rep. Raja KrishnamoorthiSubramanian (Raja) Raja KrishnamoorthiOvernight Health Care: Oversight chair plans to call drug executives to testify on costs | Biden airs anti-'Medicare for All' video | House panel claims Juul deliberately targeted kids House panel claims Juul deliberately targeted children, teens Dem lawmaker asks Mueller if Trump administration was vulnerable to blackmail MORE (D-Ill.) questioned McAleenan about a secret Facebook group in which border patrol agents joked about migrant deaths and made misogynistic comments about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel Pro-Trump Republican immigrant to challenge Dem lawmaker who flipped Michigan seat 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 MORE (D-N.Y.), asking McAleenan if he himself had belonged to the group.

McAleenan denied that he had and said that while he did not know whether acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan was a member, he did not believe him to be.

McAleenan assured Krishnamoorthi that the Department of Homeland Security was “moving very quickly to hold people responsible for conduct that doesn’t meet our standards,” adding that an update on the investigation of the group was likely later in the month.