Top Immigration and Customs Enforcement official Matthew Albence appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions about the Trump administration’s abhorrent family separation policy. During that appearance, Albence claimed that the detention centers where immigrant children ripped from their parents are held are “more like a summer camp.”
Albence said, “I’m very comfortable with the level of service and protection that is being provided,” at “family residential centers,” the Trump administration’s preferred way to refer to immigrant detention facility.
Commander Jonathan D. White is a public health coordinating official for the government’s reunification effort. White said, “This is a novel situation.” White continued, “The systems were not set up to have referrals include parent information.”
Democrats on the Senate judiciary committee were dismayed by the administration response to the crisis created by the president. Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) noted that the administration created chaos and a crisis on the border that was like a Kafka novel. He also noted that Chuck E. Cheese was better at keeping children from being separated from their parents than the government.
Albence also whined that the government is too focused on reunification only because a federal judge has forced the issue. Yes, a government official complained that there was too much focus being placed on returning children who were essentially kidnapped by the United States government.
Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) was incensed at that reaction. He said, “Blame other people if you wish, but this started with somebody in the White House with a bright idea that turned out to be a disaster.”
Some Republicans were sympathetic to the administration’s complaints. Senator Cornyn (R-TX) said that reunifying separated children is a distraction and keeping immigration officials from doing more important things, like catching drug traffickers.