WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Congress and immigration (all times local):
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says his department still has custody of 2,047 migrant children separated from their parents because of the Trump administration’s rescinded “zero tolerance” policy at the southwest border.
That’s only six fewer children than the 2,053 HHS had said were in its custody as of last Wednesday.
Democratic senators questioning Azar during a Finance Committee hearing said that’s nowhere near enough progress.
Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden said “HHS, Homeland Security, and the Justice Department seem to be doing a lot more to add to the bedlam and deflect blame than they’re doing to tell parents where their kids are.”
Azar responded that “every parent has access to know where their child is.”
House Republicans focusing on a slimmed-down bill to stem the crisis of separating immigrant families at the border are already running into uncertainty over its fate.
President Donald Trump has rejected one major proposal in the modest measure: adding more immigration judges. While supporters say more judges could help expedite the logjam of claims that can prolong detentions, the president insists it would only lead to graft.
Lawmakers are wavering on what to do next, calling into question whether they will be able to swiftly act on any bills to address the border crisis.
Reports of immigrant children being separated from their parents at the border have prompted an outpouring of public concern.
House Republicans plan to meet Tuesday to consider options before Congress begins its Fourth of July recess.