DOJ Lawyer That Argued Toothbrush and Soap Weren’t Necessary Is Same Lawyer Who Chose Dog-Sitting Over Reunification of Immigrant Families

June 2018: DOJ Lawyer Sarah Fabian said in court that she had dog-sitting responsibilities that prevented her from reuniting immigrant families

June 2019: DOJ Lawyer Sarah Fabian said a toothbrush and soap were not necessary for migrant children

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, DOJ lawyer Sarah Fabian said in a hearing that toothbrushes and soap were not necessary for immigrant children for shorter term stays. In an alarming video, Fabian argues with a panel of judges about a settlement agreement that requires sanitary conditions for immigrant children held in U.S. custody, arguing that for shorter stays, they may not need toothbrushes or soap.

This isn’t the first time Sarah Fabian has made news on Trump’s horrific family separation policy. One year ago, in a court hearing, she told a judge she couldn’t work to reunify children with their families because of “dog-sitting responsibilities.”

“If it weren’t clear that Trump administration officials were complicit in the horrific living conditions forced upon immigrant children separated from their families already, Sarah Fabian has made the case this week,” said Lizzy Price, spokesperson for Restore Public Trust. “Now that we’ve finally seen how the administration has cruelly approached and carried out Trump’s family separation policy, it is time for Congress to force the Trump administration to come clean on these issues before more children are put in danger.”


June 2019: Sarah Fabian, DOJ lawyer, said a toothbrush and soap not necessary for detained migrant children. “A U.S. government lawyer on Tuesday said a longstanding settlement agreement requiring sanitary conditions for detained immigrant children may not necessarily mean a toothbrush and soap must be provided for shorter stays. Sarah Fabian, senior litigation counsel for the Department of Justice, told a three judge-panel at the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco the agreement doesn’t list items that must be provided in border facilities. ‘There’s fair reason to find those things may be part of safe and sanitary,’ she told the panel during an exchange over the conditions in facilities for immigrant children caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. One of the judges then asked whether there could be an instance when a person didn’t need a toothbrush and soap for days. She said possibly for shorter term stays.” [AP, 6/18/2019]

  • NowThis Video: “A Trump official tried to argue that detained children don’t need soap, toothbrushes, or beds to be ‘safe and sanitary’ while in Border Patrol custody.” [NowThis, 6/21/2019]

June 2018: Sarah Fabian, DOJ Lawyer, had “dog-sitting responsibilities” that prevented her from working over the weekend to reunite immigrant parents and children. “The fate of hundreds of children ripped from their migrant parents was still up in the air Friday, but a Trump administration lawyer working on the case has a side gig to attend to — dog-sitting. At a hearing in San Diego Federal Court Friday, the Trump administration asked Judge Dana Sabraw to extend deadlines he set last month for officials to reunify the hundreds of migrant families separated because of its zero tolerance policy. The first deadline is July 10. During the two-hour hearing, Sabraw asked Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian and a lawyer representing the American Civil Liberties Union about their availability over the weekend. “We will do whatever. We will stay the weekend,” said the lawyer representing the ACLU, which successfully sued the Trump administration over its family-shattering practice last month. Fabian said she had other obligations. “I have dog-sitting responsibilities that require me to go back to Colorado but I will be back Monday,” she said, according to a transcript published by NBC News.” [NY Daily News, 6/6/2018]

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