Lindsey Graham: We’ll hold hearings on child migrant deaths.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham vowed to investigate the deaths of two young migrant children who died in U.S. custody, according to an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union. News of the potential hearings arrives just one day after President Donald Trump attempted to blame the tragedy on “Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally.”
Graham told CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday, “Yeah, I’m going to hold hearings on the deaths of these two children and the policies that entice people to come.” Earlier this month saw seven-year-old Guatemalan girl Jakelin Caal Maquin pass away in an El Paso children’s hospital while preparing to move to a Border Patrol station, while eight-year-old Guatemalan boy Felipe Gomez Alonzo died on Christmas Eve in Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Added Graham, “One of the mothers of these two children was not seeking asylum, she was just trying to come here to find a job.”
The Republican Senator and frequent Trump defender is seen as the likely incoming chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and was urged to hold hearings on the matter by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who cited “previous reports of widespread abuse of children in immigration custody.” Meanwhile, Trump’s first and only acknowledgment of the two deaths, via Twitter, claimed, “The two children in question were very sick before they were given over to Border Patrol,” and distorted statements by Jakelin’s father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, about his daughter’s health before being detained. (Contradicting U.S. officials, through his lawyers the father said he and his daughter had not been given water for over eight afters after they were detained by Border Patrol.)
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway attempted to deflect questions of Trump’s tweets during her own appearance on State of the Union. “The president’s point is an important one,” Conway offered after brief sentiments labeling Maquin and Alonzo’s deaths a tragedy. “He’s stayed in Washington to negotiate border security and to get funding for D.H.S., I.C.E. and C.P.B., and of course enhance border security. . .we are allowing these people to take their children on a perilous journey without correcting the falsities. They’re being promised something that people can simply not deliver.”
No timetable has yet been suggested for Graham’s potential hearings.