Feinstein requests hearing on Trump's border policy

Feinstein requests hearing on Trump's border policy
© Greg Nash

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGOP senator blocks vote on House-passed Violence Against Women Act Congress feels heat to act on youth vaping GOP senator wants Violence Against Women Act passage by year end MORE (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is requesting the panel hold a hearing on the Trump administration's handling of immigrant families detained along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Feinstein sent a letter to Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul Top GOP senator: Drug pricing action unlikely before end of year Key Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the committee, requesting a public hearing to dig into the separation of children from their parents, the administration's "zero tolerance" policy and the lack of a public plan to reunite families who have been separated.

"Congress has a constitutional obligation to exercise its oversight authority. The Senate Judiciary Committee deserves an opportunity to examine these policies and their impacts on families, children, and the budget. We cannot resolve the crises in our hemisphere by draconian policies that further inflict trauma on children," Feinstein wrote in the letter to Grassley. 

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Democrats have seized on Trump's immigration policies, which resulted in the separation of thousands of children from their parents when they were detained along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Though Trump signed an executive order last week to pave the way for the families to be kept together, there have been contradicting statements on how the policy is being implemented and some lawmakers believe they still need to pass legislation. 

Feinstein added that the executive order created "new challenges" and that the administration does not appear to have developed a plan to "identify, track and reunite" families that have already been separated. 

"Americans were rightly shocked to hear the cries of babies calling out for their mothers and fathers and I am deeply concerned about the harm this has had on children and families. I also am concerned the Administration has not implemented a comprehensive strategy to reunite the families and instead continues these arbitrary separations," Feinstein wrote. 

Feinstein's letter comes as she is set to meet on Monday with Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinTensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' Senators voice support for Iran protesters but stop short of taking action GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy MORE (D-Ill.), Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisFeehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds Progressive group to spend as much as M to turn out young voters This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry MORE (R-N.C.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzLawmakers spar over surveillance flight treaty with Russia Senators voice support for Iran protesters but stop short of taking action Prisons chief: FBI investigating whether 'criminal enterprise' played role in Epstein death MORE (R-Texas) as they try to hash out an agreement on narrow legislation to address families detained along the border. 

Democrats have previously requested a hearing on Trump's "zero tolerance" policy but Grassley appeared to shoot down that request with a letter to Feinstein and other Democrats on the committee last week.

"The simplest and easiest way to address this crisis is to repeal the Flores decision so that family units can remain in family residential centers and receive adequate care pending the outcome of their criminal or civil cases. This is an easy, common-sense solution that doesn’t require a hearing," Grassley wrote.