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CHC Calls for Regular Meetings with DHS Secretary Nielsen

May 16, 2018
Press Release
 
Washington, D.C. – The leadership of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), led by U.S. Representative Nanette Diaz Barragán, sent a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Kirstjen Nielsen to follow up on her recent commitment to meet with the CHC on a regular basis to discuss immigration and border issues and policy during a Committee on Homeland Security hearing on April 26, 2018.
 
“Based on our Caucus’ interest in these areas and given many concerning actions by DHS, it is imperative that we now meet with you to discuss recent policy changes that DHS has undertaken, including family separation, detainment of pregnant immigrants, the termination of the Temporary Protected Status program for hundreds of thousands of recipients and troubling immigration enforcement tactics,” the Members wrote.
 
The Members continued: “We hope to forge a constructive dialogue with you on these issues, which are of great importance and concern to our constituents and Caucus.”
 
In addition to Rep. Barragán, the following members of the CHC signed the letter: CHC Chair Michelle Lujan Grisham; CHC First Vice-Chair Joaquin Castro; CHC Second Vice-Chair Ruben Gallego; CHC Whip Pete Aguilar; and CHC Freshman Representative Adriano Espaillat. 
 
Background: Sec. Nielsen testified before the Committee on Homeland Security on April 26, 2018. It was during that hearing when Rep. Barragán asked about the possibility of Sec. Nielsen meeting with CHC on a regular basis. Here is a video clip and transcript of that exchange:
Rep. Barragán: “Your predecessor, Sec. Kelly, committed to meeting with CHC regularly.  Will you commit to meeting with CHC regularly like your predecessor?”
Sec. Nielsen: “Be happy to.”
Rep. Barragán: “Great, hopefully we can schedule that soon.  Since you have been sworn in, we have not seen you.”
 
The official letter can be found here
 
TEXT OF LETTER
 
May 14, 2018
 
The Honorable Kirstjen Nielsen 
Secretary of Homeland Security 
U.S. Department of Homeland Security 
Washington, D.C. 20528 
 
Dear Secretary Nielsen, 
 
We write to thank you for your recent commitment to meet with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) on a regular basis during a Committee on Homeland Security hearing on April 26, 2018. Last year, your predecessor, then-Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, committed to meeting with the CHC every six weeks; either with him or other high-level DHS agency officials.  During Mr. Kelly’s tenure as Secretary of Homeland Security, he met with the CHC on two different occasions: on April 4, 2017 and July 12, 2017.  Mr. Kelly continued his relationship with the CHC as the White House Chief of Staff by meeting with the Caucus on January 17, 2018 to discuss family reunification and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 
 
The CHC consists of 31 Members of Congress, of which 21 represent districts in states along our southern border so border security, trade, asylum cases, DACA, and family separation are topics our members follow very closely. Further, many CHC Members have been working on immigration and border issues for decades and could provide valuable feedback to DHS on effective tools and policies.
 
Based on our Caucus’ interest in these areas and given many concerning actions by DHS, it is imperative that we now meet with you to  discuss recent policy changes that DHS has undertaken, including family separation, detainment of pregnant immigrants, the termination of the Temporary Protected Status program for hundreds of thousands of recipients and troubling immigration enforcement tactics.  We hope to forge a constructive dialogue with you on these issues, which are of great importance and concern to our constituents and Caucus.
 
We look forward to working with your office to organize these future meetings.  Please do not hesitate to contact CHC Executive Director Alma Acosta if you have any questions. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
###
 
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.