Graham Should Live Up to Promise; Hold Hearing on Death of Children in Border Patrol Custody

Instead of Providing Needed Oversight Graham Poised to do Trump’s Bidding… Again

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last month, preeminent Trump apologist and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham announced that the Judiciary Committee would hold hearings on the deaths of two children in Border Patrol custody. But instead of following through on that pledge, it appears that Graham will instead hold a hearing to back a widely debunked claim by Trump on human trafficking at the southern border.

“When it comes to the child separation policy, the American people want a pitbull who is willing to get to the bottom of what happened and hold the administration accountable. They want to know why so many of these children were abused and sexually assaulted, and in some cases died. Instead, in Lindsey Graham they got Donald Trump’s favorite lapdog,”  said Karl Frisch, a spokesperson for Restore Public Trust.

On February 7, Chairman Graham announced a hearing scheduled for today on the deaths of two children in U.S. Border Patrol custody last year, saying:

Chairman Graham: There was a request made by, I think, Sen. Blumenthal and Feinstein to do a hearing about the deaths of the two young children in custody, DHS custody. That’s going to be set I think for March 5. I talked to Sen. Blumenthal about some red flag legislation I’m working on with him. So, to my friends on the other side, there seems to be a lot that we actually agree upon, and I’d like to make this a productive committee, bipartisan as possible.

Instead of holding a hearing today as promised, Chairman Graham has scheduled a hearing on March 6 entitled: Oversight of Customs and Border Protection’s Response to the Smuggling of Persons at the Southern Border. During his State of the Union address, President Trump clinically used the very real issue of human trafficking to dishonestly make his case for building a wall on the southern border. He claimed that “human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.” However, numerous fact checkers, including The Washington Post and Associated Press, have already debunked this often-repeated claim from Trump:

AP Fact Check: His administration has not supplied evidence that women and girls are smuggled by the “thousands” across remote areas of the border for these purposes. What has been established is nearly 80 percent of international trafficking victims cross through legal ports of entry, a flow that would not be stopped by a border wall.

Frisch continued, “Human trafficking is a very real and serious issue. Trump was wrong to lie about it and Sen. Graham is wrong to be giving those lies legitimacy in the form of a Senate hearing. Doing so undermines the seriousness of this issue and our ability to tackle it head on. Graham should do his job as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and provide actual oversight on this administration’s failure to protect children in their custody, instead of indulging Trump’s cynical ploy to dishonestly use human trafficking to support his made-up crisis at the southern border.”

Last week, Restore Public Trust launched a new campaign to hold accountable the agencies, companies, and individuals who are responsible for developing, implementing, and/or defending the policy, including a mobile billboard launched yesterday in Atlanta blasting CNN for hiring Sarah Isgur, former spokesperson for then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions who defended the horrifying policy, as 2020 political editor. RPT will also drive accountability campaigns against lawmakers in their home states and target corporations who are benefiting from the policy. They will also encourage companies to avoid hiring or working with any Trump Administration officials who were involved in developing, implementing, or defending the family separation policy.

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Press Release

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