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Lawmakers examine migrant deportations, consumer protections in hearings Thursday

By
Daniel Uria
Migrant children, part of a caravan traveling to the United States, are seen near a shelter in Tijuana, Mexico, on November 27, 2018. File Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI
Migrant children, part of a caravan traveling to the United States, are seen near a shelter in Tijuana, Mexico, on November 27, 2018. File Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Congress will hold two key hearings Thursday on Trump administration policy -- involving the deportations of ill migrant children and families and consumer financial protections.

Both hearings, which come amid a House impeachment investigation against President Donald Trump, will feature testimony from administration leaders -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence, Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Kathleen Kraninger.

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The House will hear testimony from both immigration officials and the Senate will hear details of a semiannual CFPB report and its fall rule-making agenda.

Immigration

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Albence and Cuccinelli, both acting directors, will testify before the House oversight committee's civil rights and liberties subcommittee about the administration's decision to deport critically ill children and their families. The hearing will start at 10 a.m. EDT.

In August, the administration quietly decided to shut down the medically deferred action program, which exempted migrant families and their critically ill children from deportation while receiving crucial medical care in the United States. The program was ended without an announcement or time for public comment.

Hundreds of medical exemption applications were denied after the change and migrants and medical officials testified in the House last month, saying the administration chose to kill a life-saving program.

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A week later, the Department of Homeland Security sent a letter to the committee saying it was resuming "consideration of non-military deferred action requests on a discretionary, case-by-case basis." House lawmakers said, however, the administration has since refused to produce requested documents or make agency officials available to answer questions about the policy and its reversal.

Thursday, lawmakers will seek to learn how the administration will process medical requests going forward and whether Citizenship and Immigration Services will apply new standards or restrictions on migrant families seeking critical U.S. care.

Consumer financial protection

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Kraninger will testify before the Senate banking committee to detail the bureau's fall status report, which provides an overview of initiatives Kraninger has put in place since taking over the CFPB last December.

The report, which was released ahead of Thursday's hearing, also covers a review of consumers' access to financial services and products, plans for rule-making analysis of consumer complaints and an overview of supervisory and enforcement actions. It covers the bureau's actions between October 2018 and the end of March.

"The bureau is considering further prioritization and planning of the bureau's rule-making activities, both with regard to substantive projects and modifications to the process that the bureau uses to develop and review regulations," the report states.

Kraninger presented the report in the House on Wednesday, where lawmakers questioned her about the CFPB's failure to protect American consumers from threats by debt collectors and its handling of student loans.

Kraninger says in the report, titled "Semi-Annual Report Spring 2019," that the bureau is seeking the most effective means to comply with the Dodd-Frank Act, an Obama-era law that put substantial safeguards in place after the 2009 financial crisis, and other consumer protection statutes.

"I am committed to strengthening the consumer financial marketplace by providing financial institutions clear 'rules of the road' that allow them to offer consumers a range of high-quality, innovative financial services and products," she wrote.

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