Oversight Committee Examines IG Report on Trump Administration’s Policy of Separating Immigrant Children from Their Families

Feb 4, 2021
Press Release


“It was a disaster from start to finish.”


Washington, D.C. (Feb. 4, 2021)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, held a hearing with Michael E. Horowitz, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice (DOJ), to examine his recent report on the Trump Administration’s immigrant child separation policy.


“This report makes clear that the Trump Administration compounded the harm of this policy through incompetence,” Chairwoman Maloney said in her opening statement.  “They recklessly disregarded the objections of experts and failed to coordinate among agencies to track these kids.  They ignored obvious warnings from an earlier pilot program that experienced many of the same problems.  It was a disaster from start to finish.”


Attorney General Sessions and his top advisors misled key DOJ officials and other agencies about the purpose and implications of the child separation policy.


  • IG Horowitz testified that then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his top advisors intended for the policy to lead to child separations.


  • IG Horowitz explained how Sessions and other DOJ officials hid this fact from key agencies responsible for implementing the policy, blindsiding them once separations were underway and increasing the harm to the separated children in their custody. 


  • IG Horowitz testified that DOJ leadership had the power to halt family separations, but instead continued pursuing their inhumane policy.


Trump Administration officials made “no effort to change the policy” once child separations were underway, even after being confronted with evidence of the trauma they caused.


  • IG Horowitz confirmed that even after senior Trump Administration officials were confronted with evidence of the trauma caused to the thousands of children separated from their families, officials took no steps to stop the policy or mitigate the harm and trauma to thousands of children and their families.


  • IG Horowitz testified:  “There was no effort to change the policy while it was underway, as reports came in about the problems that were occurring with reunification.” 


Democratic Members demanded accountability and justice for families.



  • In response to questions from Rep. Cori Bush, IG Horowitz committed to providing the Committee with information on the number of misdemeanors and felonies charged during the child separation policy. 


  • Members also pledged to support the Biden Administration’s task force to reunify separated families.



117th Congress