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HHS Secretary Makes It Clear That Children Are Still Being Held Hostage for Trump's Wall

June 26, 2018 in Blogs

By Mark Sumner, Daily Kos

The president is not surrendering.

Despite the pretense of signing an executive order that had little or no effect on how families are treated at the border, and despite making various claims about efforts to reunite families already separated by Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has made it clear: Trump is not surrendering his hostages.

Azar testified before Congress on Tuesday where, according to the Washington Post, he told the lawmakers that if they wanted kids returned to their families, it would have to come as part of legislation. Otherwise, Trump will continue to have families held, children will continue to be separated, and no one is getting a kid back unless they’re on the way out of the country.

“I cannot reunite them, though, while the parents are in custody because of the court order that doesn’t allow the kids to be with their parents for more than 20 days,” he said. “We need Congress to fix that.”

So … no. Trump’s executive order didn’t end, or even seriously effect family separations. Though it did do an excellent job of collecting headlines informing the nation that Trump had “solved” this problem.

Asked about reuniting families Azar instead talked about 250 children who had been placed elsewhere—including some who had been sent back to remaining family in the countries their captive parents had been fleeing. If Azar is correct, then some children have actually been deported, even as one or both of their parents remains in US custody.

But while Azar did not have any suggestion on how parents could locate their children, or when families might be reunited, he did have one clear statement. If lawmakers want to see an end to family separation, they had better “find a legislative fix.” And since Trump has already demonstrated that he won’t sign a bill without everything he wants, including billions for “the wall,” the country and the crisis are right back where we were—with an increasing number of children being held hostage to the demands of Donald Trump.

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