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 DurbinSanders: 'Not crazy' about nixing the Senate filibuster Democrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal Trump praises law enforcement response to shooting at Illinois business MORE (D-Ill.) on Tuesday called for Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump faces mounting challenges to emergency declaration 2,000 asylum seekers return home, decide to stay in Mexico: report Trump taps FEMA official to lead agency 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 HarrisSanders campaign reports raising M in less than a day The Memo: Bernie Sanders’s WH launch sharpens ‘socialist’ question Gillibrand uses Trump Jr. tweet to fundraise MORE (Calif.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoFemale Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Trump tweets video mocking Dems not cheering during State of the Union New battle lines in war over Trump’s judicial picks MORE (Hawaii), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats The border deal: What made it in, what got left out Lawmakers introduce bill to fund government, prevent shutdown MORE (Ore.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthWhite House, GOP defend Trump emergency declaration Dem senator thinks Senate may be able to block emergency declaration Trump’s new Syria timetable raises concern among key anti-ISIS allies 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.