Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., accused the Trump administration of "outright lies" and called for hearings on the deaths of children who were in U.S. custody.
Thompson, who became chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security when Democrats took control of the U.S. House last week, issued the scathing statements in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen on Friday.
Nielsen had appeared before Congress earlier that day and, in an effort to make the case for President Trump's proposed border wall, falsely claimed that the U.S. caught thousands of terrorists at the border last year. Justice Department records, however, show that there were no such apprehensions.
"Your border security presentation submitted to Congress today is yet another example of the misinformation and outright lies the Trump administration has used to make the case for the President's boondoggle border wall, defend the government shutdown, and distract the American people from a border policy so flawed that children have died in Department of Homeland Security custody," Thompson wrote.
Deaths of Children on Trump's Watch
Eight-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo's died on Christmas Day—a week after Border Patrol agents apprehended him and his father for entering the country illegally just miles away from an El Paso border crossing on Dec. 18.
Felipe and his father crossed into the U.S. in a bid to escape poverty in their homeland and for educational opportunities during a time when the Trump administration is making it more difficult for immigrants to request asylum at U.S. borders, as federal law allows.
Felipe "always wanted a bicycle," Catarina Gomez Lucas, Felipe's 21-year-old sister, said.
On Dec. 8, another child, 7-year-old Jakelin Caal, died at an El Paso hospital of shock and dehydration while in CBP custody. Her death, though, came just 27 hours after agents detained her and her father at a border crossing. Her funeral was