The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) strongly opposes the confirmation of Chad Wolf, who helped shape the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” family separation policy and then lied to Congress about it, as undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on Mr. Wolf’s confirmation during a floor vote Tuesday, November 12.
Mr. Wolf told Congress in June that he did not help shape the zero-tolerance policy. Yet, internal records show that as chief of staff to former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen he was directly involved in the decision-making behind separations that continue to inflict severe harm on the families who were victims of these policies. Members of Congress should oppose his confirmation, and demand answers regarding his false claims made under oath.
Mr. Wolf has served as policy undersecretary in DHS since February 2019, and his Senate confirmation in that position is required before he can be nominated to replace former DHS Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan. Mr. McAleenan also misled Congress about family separation, as did his predecessor, Ms. Nielsen, who told Congress there was not a policy of family separation even as DHS officers were separating families at the southern border. Internal emails obtained by NBC News in January show that in December 2017 Mr. Wolf sent 16 recommendations to the Department of Justice for how to deter migration — including a recommendation to separate families. The list also included a recommendation to finalize the agreement between DHS and the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct background checks on sponsors of unaccompanied children. That agreement has led to DHS using children as bait to arrest their undocumented family members, carried out through coercion, misrepresentation, and circumvention of due process rights.
In addition to being one of the central actors responsible for traumatizing children, Mr. Wolf has been a close confidant of Stephen Miller, helping him implement his hateful anti-immigrant agenda, including terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for hundreds of thousands of community members. As acting secretary, Mr. Wolf would oversee Miller’s most harmful policies, such as the asylum ban on migrants who travel through a second country to arrive at the border, the denial of due process to asylum seekers through the use of tent courts, and the “Return-to-Mexico” policy that results in the daily forcible return of asylum seekers to harm.
Mr. Wolf is complicit in many of this administration’s most violent anti-immigrant policies. Congress should request a DOJ investigation into Mr. Wolf’s statements under oath, demand answers to his role in the family separation cover-up, and oppose his nomination outright.