Here’s a quick little anecdote from Texas Republican Rep. Will Hurd that’s sure to inspire confidence in the Trump administration’s ability to reunite families torn apart by its family separation policy.
“I think the reunification hasn’t gone as quickly as most of us would like,” Hurd deadpanned to CNN’s John Berman on Tuesday morning. (No shit.) “One of the concerns I have is [the Department of Health and Human Services’] ability to do this.”
Then he offered this example:
“We were supposed to have a conference call yesterday with members of Congress and their staff to talk about this process, and the phone number didn’t work,” Hurd said. “If they can’t do that with us, I’m concerned with the ability of connecting kids.”
By all appearances, the Trump administration’s hasty walk-back of its separation policy has created a ripple effect of unpreparedness among the federal agencies tasked with managing the process. Guidelines from the White House on how to implement reunification have been open-ended and unclear—a sign that the government has been ill-prepared for both the initial plan and the hasty correction.
So far, the Customs and Border Protection agency estimates around 500—or just over 15 percent—of separated families have been reunified. HHS, meanwhile, has created a task force specifically to manage the process.
“Secretary Azar is bringing to bear all the relevant resources of the department in order to assist in the reunification or placement of unaccompanied alien children and teenagers with a parent or appropriate sponsor,” an HHS spokesperson told Politico last Friday.
Based on Rep. Hurd’s experience, it sounds like HHS could stand to benefit from a few more “relevant resources.” Like a working conference call line.