The Latest: Oregon senator opposes nominee for HHS post
CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on immigrant parents and children separated at the U.S. border (all times local):
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden says he would vote against the nomination of Lynn Johnson as assistant Health and Human Services secretary for family support because of concern over how her past policies as a state child welfare official could bear on her handling of the situation of thousands of children in detention at the border.
The position includes heading the department’s Administration for Children and Families and the Office of Refugee Settlement, which has custody over the children being held near the U.S.-Mexico border who were separated from their parents seeking asylum.
Wyden is a Democrat and said Thursday that Johnson, who headed Colorado’s child welfare program, “green-lighted a law allowing foster kids to be placed in juvenile detention facilities.”
Wyden made the statement at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the nominee for new IRS commissioner. Wyden is the senior Democrat on the panel.
The committee had been scheduled to vote on the nominations of Johnson and three other officials, but not enough senators were present.
A federal judge in Chicago has declined to rule immediately on the release of a 9-year-old Brazilian boy who was separated from his mother at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Another judge on Tuesday ordered the government to reunite more than 2,000 immigrant children with their families within 30 days, or 14 days for those younger than 5.
The same day, lawyers for Lidia Karine Souza filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to demand the release of her son, Diogo.
Judge Manish Shah said Thursday that he would “like to give it some thought” but he could issue a ruling later in the day.
Diogo has spent four weeks at a shelter in Chicago. Souza has applied for asylum and was released from a facility in Texas June 9.
Federal officers in Portland have moved to reopen a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office that has been closed for more than a week because of an occupation by activists.
Federal Protective Service spokesman Rob Sperling said in a statement that law enforcement began clearing a camp of demonstrators at dawn Thursday. Media reports say officers took some protesters into custody.
There have been no reports of violence.
The group rallying under the moniker Occupy ICE PDX began its round-the-clock demonstration June 17. Protesters want to abolish the agency and end the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy.
Officials closed the office a few days into the occupation because of safety concerns.
On Monday, they warned protesters to stop blocking entrances.
A group of Democrats in Congress is proposing legislation directed at giving lawmakers more access to government shelters housing immigrant children.
Democrats have pushed for more access to facilities holding immigrants, especially after the Trump administration started to broadly separate families crossing the southern U.S. border.
In some cases, they’ve been turned away from facilities they have tried to visit or denied access to immigrants being held.
U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon co-sponsored the proposal released Thursday.
The bill would require “immediate access” for any member of Congress to a federal facility unless national security restrictions applied.
Castro and Wyden say they want to ensure that children “already suffering trauma” are being treated humanely.
Washington state authorities have ordered protesters to dismantle their tent structures outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, where detainees from the southern border crisis are being held.
The Tacoma News Tribune reports that Tacoma police issued the 24-hour notice requiring the protesters to dismantle any structures they erected that are in violation of Tacoma Municipal Code, including tents, canopies, gazebos, sunshades, tarps and temporary restroom facilities.
Since Saturday, people have gathered to protest the federal government for detaining migrants — separating them from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border — while the adults await immigration processing.
On Tuesday, there were 160 protesters, including 10 people were arrested in a confrontation with Tacoma police officers.
A spokesman for the protesters says they won’t move and called the order a scare tactic.
Lawyers for a Brazilian immigrant plan to go forward with an emergency hearing in federal court in Chicago to get the woman’s 9-year-old son back.
Lidia Karine Souza has been separated from her son since they illegally crossed into the U.S. from Mexico in late May. The hearing is set for Thursday.
She says she has filled out 40 pages of documents but that officials are setting more requirements, telling her the rules have changed.
She searched for weeks to find Diogo after the two were separated at the border in late May. She was released June 9 from a Texas facility.
Souza’s attorneys on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to demand her son be immediately released.
He has spent four weeks at a government-contracted shelter in Chicago, much of it alone in a room, quarantined with chicken pox.
See AP’s complete coverage of the debate over the Trump administration’s policy of family separation at the border: https://apnews.com/tag/Immigration