Friday, February 08, 2019
" White testified about exactly which Trump appointees he warned and that those warnings came in the form of in-person conversations but also multiple emails and memos. Those appointees were HHS officials: Scott Lloyd, Steven Wagner, and Maggie Wynne. (Lloyd and Wynne, for their parts, have well-reported histories of using their positions in HHS as platforms to fight abortion access.)
As White testified, “Separating children from their parents poses significant risk of traumatic psychological injury to the child.” He also said that for many children that trauma would be “lifelong,” even if the government is able to reunite them with their parents. The government has argued in court, though, that it will not be able to reunify many of these families: An internal report estimated that thousands of separated children were placed with sponsors—not reunited with parents—and remain unidentified.
White now says he warned Lloyd, Wagner, and Wynne that separations would be traumatic for these children and probably unlawful. “[I warned] that this would be inconsistent with our legal requirement to act in the best interest of the child and would expose children to an unnecessary risk of harm,” he told the committee.
When he brought this up with his department’s leadership, White says he “received a respectful hearing [and] was advised that there was no policy.”
Three Trump officials were warned about family separation.