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Top Senate Dem calls on DHS secretary to resign over family separations

Top Senate Dem calls on DHS secretary to resign over family separations
© Anna Moneymaker

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session McConnell tees up Barrett nomination, setting up rare weekend session Bipartisan group of senators call on Trump to sanction Russia over Navalny poisoning MORE (D-Ill.) on Tuesday called for Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenWatchdog finds top DOJ officials were 'driving force' behind Trump's child separation policy: NYT More than million in DHS contracts awarded to firm of acting secretary's wife: report DHS IG won't investigate after watchdog said Wolf, Cuccinelli appointments violated law MORE to resign over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which resulted in the separation of migrant children from their parents at the southern border.  

“It is and was a cruel policy inconsistent with the bedrock values of the nation,” Durbin said during an oversight hearing of the government’s efforts to reunite the families. “Someone in this administration has to accept responsibility.”

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Department of Homeland Security spokesman Tyler Houlton said in a tweet that "obstructionists in Congress should get to work to secure our borders, end legal loopholes & protect American lives" instead of "criticizing a government official who is actually doing the job she was nominated, confirmed & sworn to do and enforcing the laws passed by Congress."

"@SecNielsen is committed to standing up for the law enforcement community, protecting the homeland and negotiating in good faith with serious members of Congress who want to fix our broken immigration system," he added.

Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, joins a growing list of senators calling out Nielsen for her role in the administration's separation of families.

Democratic Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTrump knocks idea of a 'female socialist president' Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Watch live: Biden participates in HBCU homecoming MORE (Calif.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDurbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing MORE (Hawaii), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan Merkley Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Trump, Biden renew push for Latino support Sunday shows - Trump team defends coronavirus response MORE (Ore.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthAmy Coney Barrett's extreme views put women's rights in jeopardy Trump slight against Gold Star families adds to military woes McConnell focuses on confirming judicial nominees with COVID-19 talks stalled MORE (Ill.), and Tina SmithTina Flint SmithTina Smith and Jason Lewis tied in Minnesota Democratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing MORE (Minn.) have all demanded that Nielsen resign.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said it has reunited all children in its custody with eligible parents. According to a court filing, the government reunited 1,442 families with children ages 5 and older by a July 26 deadline.

But there are another 711 children in the care of the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement whose parents are either not eligible for reunification or unavailable.

Updated at 11:54 a.m.