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 DurbinDick DurbinSenate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema MORE (D-Ill.) on Tuesday called for Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenEx-Trump official: 'No. 1 national security threat I've ever seen' is GOP Left-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' 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 HarrisRepublicans caught in California's recall trap Harris facilitates coin toss at Howard University football game Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE (Calif.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoSenate Democrats to Garland: 'It's time to end the federal death penalty' Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Hillicon Valley: Facebook tightens teen protections | FBI cautions against banning ransomware payments | Republicans probe White House-social media collaboration MORE (Hawaii), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDemocrats revive filibuster fight over voting rights bill Senate backers of new voting rights bill push for swift passage Stacey Abrams backs Senate Democrats' voting rights compromise MORE (Ore.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthTop Republican: General told senators he opposed Afghanistan withdrawal Democrats brace for battle on Biden's .5 trillion spending plan Conservation group says it will only endorse Democrats who support .5T spending plan MORE (Ill.), and Tina SmithTina Flint SmithOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Democratic leaders vow climate action amid divide Manchin puts foot down on key climate provision in spending bill On The Money — The Democratic divide on taxes 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.