GOP senator: Obama administration’s track record on reuniting families 'wasn't particularly good either'

GOP senator: Obama administration’s track record on reuniting families 'wasn't particularly good either'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenate coronavirus bill delayed until Thursday Democrats cut deals to bolster support for relief bill Senate GOP will force clerks to read bill to delay COVID-19 relief vote MORE (R-Wis.) in an interview early Sunday pointed to the Obama administration’s track record when asked if the Trump administration will be able to reunite migrant children who were separated from their families at the border.

“You’re the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in the Senate,” host Jake Tapper said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “You would know, theoretically. Does the U.S. government have the skills, do they have the information to reunite these kids, as first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - FBI director testifies on Jan. 6 Capitol attack Overnight Health Care: Senate to vote on .9 trillion relief bill this week | J&J vaccine rollout begins | CDC warns against lifting restrictions Trump has been vaccinated for coronavirus MORE has said she wants to have happen?”

“So they are saying they do. We’ll continue our oversight on that,” Johnson responded.

“But the track record of the prior administration wasn’t particularly good either,” the Wisconsin Republican added. “A subcommittee looked ... into the lack of coordination between [the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)], who with unaccompanied children has to turn those unaccompanied children over to [the Department of Health and Human Resources (HHS)] within 72 hours. And they literally lost track of, I think it was about 1,500 kids.”

“You’re talking about the Obama administration,” Tapper interjected.

“I know, this is within the Obama administration and then the Trump administration trying to check on the sponsors and unaccompanied children that had been sent into HHS,” Johnson replied.

“Again, Jake, this is incredibly complex.”

The exchange came hours after DHS said it knows the location of all children separated from their parents as a result of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

A department fact sheet released late Saturday said there were 2,053 separated children in the care of HHS as of June 20.

More than 500 children who were separated as result of the policy have been reunited with their parents, it added.