House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., (left) and ranking member Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., wrote a letter calling the failure to respond "unacceptable."

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., (left) and ranking member Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., wrote a letter calling the failure to respond "unacceptable." Carolyn Kaster/AP

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Lawmakers Blast DHS for Missing Deadline for Bipartisan Subpoena of Immigration Documents 

The House Homeland Security Committee requested information on the administration's policies related to handling of children and families for the second time.

The top Democrat and Republican on a House oversight panel on Wednesday denounced the Homeland Security Department for not complying with the committee’s subpoena for documents related to immigration policies.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and ranking member Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., sent a letter to acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf to condemn him for missing the Dec. 11 deadline to comply with the subpoena. The committee approved and then issued a subpoena on Nov. 20 for documents, records and/or communications related to U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s handling of children and families at the Southwest border from November 2018 to January 2019.

“This is unacceptable,” wrote Thompson and Rogers. “You are required to produce the responsive documents, which are essential to the committee's oversight of the department’s border security activities, including the treatment of children in custody, the separation of families and metering of individuals at ports of entry.”

Thompson sent a letter to then-Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen last January asking for these documents. This was during the partial 35-day government shutdown that resulted from disputes between Democrats and the White House over border wall funding.

The request for documents came up during hearings in the spring when Nielsen testified and then when former acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan testified following Nielsen’s resignation. She said in October that she left because, in regard to some of the administration's policies, “it became clear that saying ‘no’ and refusing...to do it myself was not going to be enough,” USA Today reported

The missed deadline last week coincided with other aspects of the administration's immigration policies getting rebuked or challenged. The Pentagon’s inspector general office said it would review a recent $400 million border wall contract for potential improper influence by the Trump administration, following a request from a top House Democrat. Separately, the inspector general office said it is reviewing the legality of troop deployment and spending along the U.S.-Mexico border. Also, a Texas federal judge ruled that President Trump's declaration of a national emergency in January did not warrant his use of $3.6 billion in military construction funds to build the wall.

The Homeland Security Department did not immediately respond for comment.

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