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 DurbinGOP advances rules change to speed up confirmation of Trump nominees GOP leader presses Trump to agree to border deal Trump divides Democrats with warning of creeping socialism MORE (D-Ill.) on Tuesday called for Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Will there be any last-minute shutdown drama? FEMA head resigns 'El Chapo' found guilty on all charges 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 Devi HarrisHillicon Valley: New York says goodbye to Amazon's HQ2 | AOC reacts: 'Anything is possible' | FTC pushes for record Facebook fine | Cyber threats to utilities on the rise O’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation 2020 Dems slam Trump's plan to declare national emergency MORE (Calif.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoNew battle lines in war over Trump’s judicial picks Trump divides Democrats with warning of creeping socialism Booker, Gillibrand, Warren call on Fairfax to resign after rape allegation MORE (Hawaii), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyThe border deal: What made it in, what got left out Lawmakers introduce bill to fund government, prevent shutdown Dems wary of killing off filibuster MORE (Ore.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthTrump’s new Syria timetable raises concern among key anti-ISIS allies Bipartisan senators press Trump for strategy to protect Syrian Kurds Haaland displays trans flag outside office after Supreme Court decision on transgender military ban MORE (Ill.), and Tina SmithTina Flint SmithContractor back pay not included in shutdown deal Push to include contractor back pay in funding deal hits GOP roadblock Dems seeking path to Senate majority zero-in on Sun Belt 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.