The chief of law enforcement at the Customs and Border Protection agency said on Thursday an adult’s HIV-positive status is justification for separating them from their children.
“If a mother or father has a HIV-positive status, is that enough to justify separation from their child?” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MA) asked the CBP’s Brian Hastings at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on family separation on Thursday morning.
“It is. It’s a communicable disease under the guidance,” Hastings replied.
Raskin then asked for clarification, noting that HIV is not spread through “ordinary contact.”
“That’s the guidance that we follow,” Hastings said.
The CBP chief didn’t give an origin for the policy, even though HIV-positive status has been removed from HHS list of communicable diseases that would deny an immigrant entry into the country. “I’m not sure if that came from legal counsel. I believe that it is defined as a communicable disease,” Hastings said.
Raskin pressed further, asking for a list of communicable diseases that warrant family separation. “The flu is communicable. Would we separate parents from kids if a mom or dad had the flu?”
Hastings said parents and children were not being separated because of the flu.
The full exchange is below. Watch the entire committee hearing here.