New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, the Democratic Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, declared the Trump administration’s family separation policy “kidnapping” during a Tuesday hearing as he called for the administration to be held accountable.
"When a stranger rips a child from a parent's arms without any plan to reunify them, it is called kidnapping," Nadler began. "This Administration is responsible for the harm suffered by thousands of children & their parents, and it must be held accountable."
Politico reported that earlier in the hearing, the administration's former refugee director, Scott Lloyd, testified that he never passed on to superiors warnings that separating children from their families would cause long-lasting damaging health effects.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) asked Lloyd point blank if he ever told senior officials that his child welfare experts believed the policy to be detrimental to children's well-being and that it should be stopped.
His response: "I did not say those words."
Jonathan White, a career official within the Department of Health and Human Services who helped lead family reunification efforts, told the committee he had warned of the risks to children in early 2017; however, "Lloyd assured him at the time the administration would not enact the policy."
After the policy was implemented, health experts warned the Trump administration that it was potentially causing irreparable harm to the migrant children taken from their parents.
James Madara, CEO of the American Medical Association, warned officials last year that “[A]dverse childhood experiences created by inhumane treatment often create negative health impacts that can last an individual’s entire lifespan."