March 19, 2018

Harris Statement on Vote Against McAleenan as CBP Commissioner

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris released the following statement today on her vote against Kevin McAleenan to serve as Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

“The management of trade and people through our ports and borders is a critical responsibility that’s vital to national security, public health and our economy. To fulfill that responsibility, we must have a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner with effective management capabilities, a sense of compassion, and a commitment to upholding the highest of hiring standards throughout the bureau. After careful review of Kevin McAleenan’s record and nomination process, it’s clear he falls short of these requirements and I cannot support his nomination.

“Throughout his tenure at CBP, there have been persistent management problems including a chaotic rollout of the unconstitutional Muslim ban, a lack of transparency at border patrol checkpoints, expanded enforcement activities that undermine the civil liberties of border communities, and troubling allegations of misconduct and a lack of accountability.

“I remain deeply disturbed by CBP’s practice of actively separating families at the border under Mr. McAleenan’s leadership. Without a parent to nurse them through sickness, to comfort them through a sleepless night, or any other challenge that may arise, the separation of a child from his or her parent at the border could result in lifelong trauma.

“Additionally, I am concerned that CBP has illegally turned away asylum seekers who have sought refuge in our country in hopes of escaping violence. This lack of compassion has been stunning, and does not reflect the ideals of our nation.

“Furthermore, I have long raised concerns over the hiring practices of CBP during the Trump Administration’s politics-driven hiring surge. Mr. McAleenan’s support for lowering standards is unacceptable and threatens our safety and security. Proper vetting and training needs to occur with every hire.

“We can and must have an immigration system that prioritizes public safety, our economy and that represents our values as a nation of immigrants. I will continue to work with CBP and all relevant agencies that are critical to California’s economy and our immigrant communities, and use my position to hold this Administration accountable and conduct essential oversight.”