Letter to Inspectors General Kelly and Levinson - 123 Members In Call For Investigation to Reunite Children and Parents


By: Gwen Moore, Denny Heck, Adam Smith, Pramila Jayapal, Don Beyer, Jr., Donald McEachin, Bobby Scott, Rob Bishop, Filemon Vela, Jr., Marc Veasey, Gene Green, Sheila Jackson Lee, Vicente Gonzalez, Steve Cohen, Jim Cooper, Jim Langevin, David Cicilline, Conor Lamb, Brendan Boyle, Bob Brady, Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Tim Ryan, Marcy Kaptur, Nita Lowey, José Serrano, Joe Crowley, Adriano Espaillat, Carolyn Maloney, Jerry Nadler, Yvette Clarke, Nydia Velázquez, Grace Meng, Gregory Meeks, Thomas Suozzi, Ruben Kihuen, Jacky Rosen, Dina Titus, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Don Payne, Jr., Bill Pascrell, Jr., Albio Sires, David Price, G. K. Butterfield, Jr., Bennie Thompson, Kilili Sablan, Betty McCollum, Tim Walz, Debbie Dingell, Sandy Levin, Dan Kildee, Chellie Pingree, Jamie Raskin, Elijah Cummings, Anthony Brown, Bill Keating, Stephen Lynch, Mike Capuano, Katherine Clark, Joe Kennedy III, Niki Tsongas, Jim McGovern, John Yarmuth, Cheri Bustos, Bill Foster, Jan Schakowsky, Danny Davis, Mike Quigley, Luis Gutiérrez, Dan Lipinski, Tulsi Gabbard, Colleen Hanabusa, David Scott, John Lewis, Hank Johnson, Jr., Frederica Wilson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Alcee Hastings, Sr., Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Jr., Val Demings, Darren Soto, Eleanor Norton, Elizabeth Esty, Rosa DeLauro, Joe Courtney, Ed Perlmutter, Jared Polis, Diana DeGette, Scott Peters, Juan Vargas, Alan Lowenthal, Nanette Barragán, Maxine Waters, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Linda Sánchez, Raul Ruiz, Norma Torres, Jimmy Gomez, Grace Napolitano, Pete Aguilar, Tony Cárdenas, Judy Chu, Julia Brownley, Salud Carbajal, Jimmy Panetta, Zoe Lofgren, Anna Eshoo, Ro Khanna, Jim Costa, Eric Swalwell, Jackie Speier, Barbara Lee, Mark DeSaulnier, Doris Matsui, John Garamendi, Jared Huffman, Raul Grijalva, Tom O'Halleran, Terri Sewell, Lou Correa
Date: June 22, 2018
Location: Washington, DC

Dear Inspectors General Kelly and Levinson:

We are deeply concerned about the Department of Justice's so-called "zero-tolerance" policy that has led to the systematic separation of immigrant children from their parents. Moreover, we are gravely disturbed about reports on children being separated from their parents and the possibility that they will never be reunited again. We are alarmed about the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) and the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) quality of the recordkeeping for these families.

A New York Times article reported that Elsa Johana Ortiz Enriquez was deported without her son. "An immigration officer handed her a handwritten note on a pink slip of paper with the words, "Call Shelter Son' and a telephone number. …but she was deported before she could use it." This is an example of what appears to be a lack of quality recordkeeping to reunite parents with their children.

Therefore, we urge you to conduct an immediate investigation on DHS' and HHS' recordkeeping of children and parents who are being separated. Specifically, we would like the following questions to be answered in the report:

1. Does DHS and HHS keep separate records or is it one system to track the parents and their children? How are DHS and HHS keeping records of parents and children? What system(s) are the Departments using?

2. How quickly (average time) can DHS and/or HHS locate a child's parent? Is there an electronic database? Is it a paper file?

3. What is the process for DHS and HHS to reunite parents with their children? Which is the lead Department to reunite the families?

4. If parents are deported without their children, what is the process of reuniting the parents with their children?

5. Can every separated child be accounted for in DHS' and/or HHS' recordkeeping that links them to their parent, so that they can be reunited?

Given the time-sensitive nature of this ongoing matter, we urge you to begin a timely and complete review of the Departments' record-keeping of immigrant families. Please provide us with a response confirming that your respective offices will be reviewing DHS and HHS recordkeeping by the close of business on Friday, June 29th.