The following is a press release.
WASHINGTON – Today, July 26, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), along with 30 other senators, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, sent a letter to Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz calling for an investigation into the Justice Department’s role in the creation and implementation of the Trump Administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy.
The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General are conducting reviews of the zero-tolerance policy, and the senators wrote that the Department of Justice Inspector General should conduct his own review given the role Justice Department played in the policy’s creation and implementation.
“In justifying this policy, Attorney General Sessions has said: ‘I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.’ However, the Administration’s implementation of this policy, the resulting separation of thousands of families, and the failure to promptly reunite these families have been anything but orderly and lawful,” Durbin and the senators wrote. “The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General are conducting reviews of the zero-tolerance policy, and the Department of Justice should also face scrutiny for its integral role in initiating and executing the zero-tolerance policy. Therefore we urge you to immediately launch an investigation of the Department’s role in this humanitarian crisis.”
Senators joining Durbin on today’s letter include U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Tom Carper (D-DE), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Angus King (I-ME), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
Today also marks the court-ordered deadline for the Trump Administration to reunite families torn apart by President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association have condemned Trump’s child separation policy.
The President of the American Academy of Pediatrics called it, “government-sanctioned child abuse.”
In March, Durbin and 23 of his Senate colleagues pressed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Inspector General to investigate allegations that DHS is separating the children of asylum-seekers from their parents.
This request followed reports of the case of a seven-year-old girl and her mother from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who were separated for more than four months after they presented themselves at the U.S. border and sought protection in accordance with the law.