Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Chad F. Wolf

We, as Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Leadership, stand in firm opposition to the nomination of Chad F. Wolf to be Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 

Mr. Wolf’s tenure – in both his capacity as staff at DHS and Acting Secretary– proves he is unfit to serve as Secretary and lead an agency of a quarter of a million people. His record shows a consistent failure to effectively manage the agency, a pattern of issuing inaccurate or misleading statements, and enacting some of the most disturbing immigration policies in our country’s history. 

The CHC urges the Senate to oppose Chad F. Wolf’s nomination for DHS Secretary. 

As Chief of Staff to Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Mr. Wolf was an early architect of the family separation policy that separated children from parents or guardians upon entering the U.S. Over 5,000 children were separated from their loved ones. Apart from the egregious nature of family separation, it emerged that the policy did not include measures to reunite families, triggering a child migration crisis. The process to reunite all families could take years and the children separated at the border have been left with a lifetime of trauma promotion. Mr. Wolf, who proposed family separation, does not deserve a promotion.

Since Mr. Wolf’s illegal appointment as Acting Secretary in November of 2019, U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) has nearly shutdown, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has operated black sites to detain migrant children, and DHS agents have picked up civilian protestors in unmarked vans and uniforms. Under Mr. Wolf’s supervision, USCIS nearly furloughed 13,000 public servants. DHS has clandestinely detained at least 660 young children, some as young as one, in hotels, for weeks at a time, while immigration officials made plans to expel them. 

In Portland, DHS dressed in unmarked uniforms and picked up protestors and placed them in custody in unmarked cars without explanation. Mr. Wolf’s distortion of DHS’ mission nearly jeopardized the livelihoods of over 10,000 personnel, disrupted public trust, and placed children in danger. 

Furthermore, Mr. Wolf has consistently undermined the rule of law, eroded U.S. legal protections for asylum seekers, and used his authority for political gain. 

Most recently, Mr. Wolf openly disobeyed the Supreme Court’s ruling to reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to its 2012 policy, instead issuing a new memo that rejected opening the program to initial applicants.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, DHS has expelled nearly 170,000 asylum seekers without due process, including 8,800 unaccompanied children. Mr. Wolf has also been accused of manipulating intelligence assessments on the Russian threat to the U.S. election because it “made President Trump look bad” and downplayed the threat to White Supremacy. Mr. Wolf’s leadership of DHS has prioritized party politics, destabilized regional migration perspectives, and risked the security of the American people. 

Based on Mr. Wolf’s track record it is clear he is unfit to serve as the Department of Homeland Security Secretary. On behalf of the CHC, we strongly urge the Senate to oppose the nomination of Chad. F. Wolf. 

Editor’s Note: The above commentary was penned by the leadership of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and sent in the form of a letter to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs. The CHC members to sign the letter were: U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, its chair; U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, its first vice-chair; U.S. Nanette Diaz Barragán, its second vice-chair; U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat, CHC’s whip; and U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, a freshman representative from El Paso. A copy of the letter was also sent to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, the minority leader of the Senate, and U.S. Sen. Gary C. Peters, ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs. The letter appears in The Rio Grande Guardian with the permission of the authors. 

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above guest column shows U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio. Castro is chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

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