Over the July 4th recess, many Democratic members of Congress traveled with cameras and staff in tow to detention centers along the southern border. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, even went so far as to sneak in his cell phone to take video of migrant children inside one Texas facility, which he promptly fed to the waiting press corps.
While Congress has known the facilities have been overwhelmed and overcrowded for months, the Democrat-led House Oversight Committee scheduled a hearing to examine “the gross lack of accountability” at detention centers. In promoting their “Kids in Cages: Inhumane Treatment at the Border” hearing, Oversight staff tweeted a press advisory announcing plans to examine “the inhumane treatment of the children in these detention centers” accompanied by a photo of, yes, kids in cages.
The only problem was, as Oversight Committee Republicans quickly noted, the photo used by Democrats was from 2014 during the Obama administration. While Democrat staffers deleted the tweet, as well as another tweet using similar images from 2014. It too was deleted.
Democrats should have known since the Associated Press was also forced to admit using Obama-era photos in a 2018 article critical of the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
The Oversight Committee’s oversight could be brushed aside if it were not emblematic of the dangerous focus of House Democrats on hearings and theatrics, rather than on moving forward on real solutions.
Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) also returned to the Capitol after visiting a detention center last week with concrete ways to improve the situation. Or that is what she told a local PBS station last week.
In addition to “sharing the story” of her visit, Trahan said there was “some legislative action that we’re going to take immediately” to prevent more deaths of children being cared for at detention centers. On Tuesday, Trahan held a press conference with immigrant rights activists to unveil the Accountability for Migrant Deaths Act.
The bill requires members of Congress be notified within 48 hours of any death of a foreign national in U.S. custody. And then within a week a congressional committee with jurisdiction will hold a hearing. Another hearing.
Speaking of another hearing, the House Oversight and Reform Committee has two hearings scheduled on “child separation,” including on this Friday with the only four members of the chamber to vote against emergency border supplemental funding as witnesses.
“Whether or not the President responds to our request to improve medical care standards for the health and safety of children, and while Senator McConnell still refuses to help the children suffering in these deplorable conditions, we must lead a Battle Cry across America to protect the children,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a Dear Colleague letter intended to reassure her members.
For months, a myriad of border agency officials have testified before these same congressmen and women about the fact the detention centers are not suitable for children, that they are being overwhelmed and on the brink of collapse. Nothing but obstruction from leadership about fixing the systemic failures in the asylum process, increasing border agency resources and adopting policies to dissuade migrants from taking risks to get to the U.S.
Oh, nothing but more hearings.