Democratic senator blocks Homeland Security nominations, citing border conditions

Posted at 6:43 PM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 20:43:01-04

Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen is blocking two of President Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security nominees, citing “inhumane and substandard” conditions for children at the department’s facilities, according to her office.

Rosen said she will delay the nominations of Chad F. Wolf for DHS under secretary for strategy, policy, and plans and Troy D. Edgar for chief financial officer. Earlier this month, the two appeared before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The future of their nominations now remain on hold, “until the inhumane and substandard conditions for children at DHS processing and detention facilities improve significantly,” Rosen said in a statement.

“I will maintain these holds until a nongovernmental third party certifies that DHS has complied. I will use all tools available to hold this Administration accountable for their treatment of vulnerable children and families,” she added.

The move is yet another setback for the Trump administration which has been occupying several roles in DHS with acting heads, particularly in leadership.

Rosen opposed the nomination of Edgar in committee earlier this month. Wolf previously served as chief of staff to former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who was ousted in April.

The perilous conditions described at Customs and Border Protection facilities by a team of doctors, lawyers and advocates sparked a national outcry.

On Wednesday evening, those lawyers asked a federal judge to hold the Trump administration in contempt and to order immediate improvements to conditions at CBP facilities where children are being held. The Trump administration filed in opposition to the temporary restraining order Thursday.

The administration has raised alarm over the dramatic spike of apprehensions at the US-Mexico border in recent months. Customs and Border Protection reiterated this week that their facilities are not equipped to care for children and have been overwhelmed by the swell of migrant arrivals at the southern border.

Earlier Thursday, the House passed a Senate version of a border funding bill that aims to address the humanitarian crisis at the southern border following outrage and an outpouring of emotion on the House floor from progressives.