Homeland Security advisory council members resign over family separations: report

Homeland Security advisory council members resign over family separations: report
© Getty

Several members of the Homeland Security Advisory Council reportedly resigned over the Trump administration’s controversial immigration policies.

Four members of the advisory group, which is tasked with conducting research on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policies, announced their resignation in a letter to DHS Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTrump quietly rolled back programs to detect, combat weapons of mass destruction: report Trump's family separation policy has taken US to 'lowest depth possible,' says former immigration lawyer Four heated moments from House hearing on conditions at border facilities MORE on Monday, according to a Washington Post article published Tuesday.

The resignation letter reportedly said the administration failed to consult with the council before carrying out Trump's zero-tolerance immigration policy, which was introduced by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage House gears up for Mueller testimony Trump's no racist — he's an equal opportunity offender MORE in May. The policy resulted in the separation of hundreds of migrant families before Trump signed an executive order in June ending the separations.

“Were we consulted, we would have observed that routinely taking children from migrant parents was morally repugnant, counter-productive and ill-considered," the group wrote in the letter obtained by the Post. "We cannot tolerate association with the immigration policies of this administration, nor the illusion that we are consulted on these matters.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Richard Jeffrey Danzig, who served as the secretary of the Navy under former President Clinton, was reportedly one of the four advisory council members who announced his resignation. He was joined by former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D-N.Y.), according to the Post. 

The letter was reportedly signed by Obama-era officials David Martin, who previously served as principal deputy general counsel at DHS, and former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Matthew Olsen.

There are reportedly 24 members on the advisory council, each appointed by the Homeland Security secretary for two-year terms. The council normally meets no more than two times a year, the Post reported.

DHS Press Secretary Tyler Houlton said he was unsurprised by the group's resignations.
 
 
"It's disappointing, but not surprising, that appointees from the previous Administration would resign their positions on the Homeland Security Advisory Council over enforcement of immigration law - as written and passed by Congress," Houlton said in a statement to The Hill. "The practice of prosecuting individuals for breaking the law has been carried out by previous Administrations, including President Obama."
 
"It is unfortunate that instead of first bringing their concerns directly to the Secretary in the spirit of an Advisory Committee member, they chose to simply resign four weeks after the Administration ended the practice of concern," the press secretary added. "DHS has many missions and protects the homeland against a multitude of threats.  The HSAC provides valuable advice to the Secretary and the Department looks forward to engaging new members to be announced soon."