By Umar Farooq
WASHINGTON (AA) - The House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Tuesday voted in favor of issuing subpoenas against U.S. President Donald Trump's administration for documents related to the president’s child separation policy.
The vote by a margin of 25 - 11 is the first subpoena to be issued since Democrats gained majority control over the House of Representatives at the beginning of the year.
Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings said it was the same request made seven months ago for information relating to the policy.
"I believe it is a true national emergency. When our own government rips vulnerable children, toddlers, and even infants from the arms of their mothers and fathers with no plan to reunite them, that is government-sponsored child abuse. It is our job to step in and protect those children," Cummings said.
While all Democrats on the committee voted in favor, two Republicans, Justin Amash and Chip Roy, joined in to make it a bipartisan effort.
The committee is seeking details on the children that were separated, such as their age, gender, country of origin and location.
Around 2,600 children had been detained under the country's "zero tolerance" policy, which called for criminal prosecution for any adults found trying to illegally enter the U.S.
Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) said there were thousands more children that separated from their families by the administration prior to the policy.
After a lawsuit was filed on behalf of separated families, a federal court ordered the reunification of the families. Trump ended the zero tolerance policy with an executive order in June 2018.
However, there was no order to reunify any families that had been separated prior to the policy.