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At Subcommittee Hearing, Water’s Presses ICE Official on Agency’s Role in Human Rights Abuses Occurring on the Border

Today, at a Terrorism and Illicit Finance Subcommittee hearing entitled “Illicit Use of Virtual Currency and the Law Enforcement Response,” Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, gave the following statement:

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you for scheduling today’s hearing to examine the illicit uses of virtual currency and the law enforcement response.

It is alarming how virtual currencies, especially newer ones, are being used to finance terrorism, launder money, and purchase drugs and weapons on the dark web. This is an important topic, but it is not the only topic that we must discuss today.

Despite the fact that the witness from the Department of Homeland Security works for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, commonly known as ICE, and not the agency tasked with working on the border, it would be a dereliction of duty if I did not share my concerns about the human rights abuses occurring on our border at president Trump’s direction, and at least find out what ICE’s role is in this issue.

The world has watched and listened in horror and with overwhelming sadness as children have been ripped from their parents and separated from their families. They are young, alone, and terrified, without their families, and made to live in literal cages. It is not clear when this child abuse will end.

The White House has made every argument it can to deflect blame for their zero tolerance policy that led to the forcible separation of over 2,000 children from their parents in just six weeks: they have quoted the bible, denied the policy, and begrudgingly acknowledged it. The president, in an attempt to convince the American public that up is down and down is up, even tried to blame Democrats for his own policy.

This is Donald Trump’s abhorrent policy. This is child abuse. Neither of those statements is refutable. It is time for the President, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen, and Department of Justice Attorney General Sessions to admit that their actions were not thought out, and that the consequences of those actions are inhumane and completely inconsistent with the values of this country.


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