September 23, 2020
Lauri Alvarez, Program Associate
LAWG Opposes Chad Wolf Nomination, Urges Investigation into His Actions & Calls for his Resignation
Washington D.C.- The Latin America Working Group (LAWG) strongly opposes the nomination of Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Chad Wolf, as he appears before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) for his official nomination hearing today, Wednesday Sept. 23rd. LAWG strongly urges the Senate HSGAC members to vote against his nomination, and instead to call for his resignation and to urge investigations into the unlawful policies DHS implemented under his leadership.
“Under Chad Wolf’s watch, DHS has become an agency that considers Central American families and children a threat to the United States. A vote for him is a vote for family separation, the border wall, forcibly sterilizing immigrant women, and exacerbating the spread of COVID-19 through detentions and deportations that export COVID-19 to Latin America and the Caribbean. The only hearing that should be held for Chad Wolf is a hearing to investigate all of these policies,” states Daniella Burgi-Palomino, co-director for the Latin America Working Group (LAWG).
The GAO recently found that Chad Wolf had been illegally appointed to his current role as Acting Secretary of DHS and has been unlawfully serving in that role. Under his watch, DHS has carried out a series of illegal and harmful immigration policies. Throughout his time as Acting Secretary, the U.S. asylum system has been decimated and thoroughly unsafe “safe third country agreements” have been negotiated with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Chad Wolf has traveled frequently to Central America to promote partnerships to deter migration and to unlawfully pressure those governments to stop their citizens from fleeing. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have committed grave rights violations with impunity under his leadership. Most recently, a whistleblower submitted a complaint to the DHS Office of the Inspector General alleging that immigrant women were subject to hysterectomies without their consent and that medical care was negligent for detainees in an ICE detention facility in Georgia. During the pandemic, DHS has continued to expose detainees and asylum seekers to COVID-19, expelling and deporting them without testing them for the virus –exporting the virus to more than 11 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The policies implemented throughout Acting Secretary Wolf’s tenure at DHS have had grave transnational impacts on families, individuals and children seeking protection from Mexico and Central America and on immigrant communities in the United States. His nomination should not move forward.