Mr. Wolf’s long-standing history of disregarding the well-being of children make him unfit to hold this position
SCAN strongly opposes President Trump’s nomination of Chad Wolf as permanent Secretary of Homeland Security. The actions undertaken by Mr. Wolf during his tenure as Chief of Staff to former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (July 2017 – April 2019) and as current Acting Secretary of Homeland Security (November 2019 – present), have been exceptionally harmful to children and families, blatantly disregarding not only long-standing legal protections, but also the rulings of federal judges and widely-held moral standards.
Beginning in 2017, we saw Mr. Wolf promote family separation as a tactic to curb undocumented immigrants. In fact, from April 6 to June 20, 2018, nearly 5,500 children were forcibly separated from their families. Now, in 2020, we have seen Mr. Wolf’s unconscionable disregard for children and families continue.
For instance, using the COVID-19 pandemic as justification, he has ignored long-standing asylum protections – such as the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement and the Trafficking and Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) – by unlawfully detaining hundreds of children in hotels and detention centers, while threatening detainees with family separation. He has also ignored the direct orders of a federal judge who ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – which falls under the purview of Mr. Wolf – to release all children held in various family detention centers and hotels across the country. Mr. Wolf has continued to ignore these rulings.
Mr. Wolf has also overseen the mass expulsion of asylum-seekers, without providing them due process. From March to the end of August 2020, there have been nearly 150,000 expulsions at both land borders, including around 8,800 unaccompanied children, most of whom were expelled in violation of anti-trafficking and humanitarian statutes. Despite the fact that various expelled children tested negative for COVID-19, Mr. Wolf cited the virus as justification.
SCAN is deeply familiar with the overwhelming effects – including the devastating loss of childhood – that child detention and family separation has on a young child. What children have been forced to unnecessarily endure under Mr. Wolf’s leadership is unacceptable, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. Children, no matter where they are from, must be protected and treated according to established health and legal standards.
SCAN – together with its 375,000 supports across the country – calls upon the Senate to reject Mr. Wolf’s nomination by voting ‘no’ during Wednesday’s vote. Read SCAN’s Statement for the Record, here.
Save the Children Action Network was created in 2014 as the political advocacy arm of Save the Children, to be the political voice for kids. We work to ensure that the issues critical to children’s lives and futures are given top priority by our elected leaders, building bipartisan support to make sure every child has a strong start in life.