Senate

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

Anna Moneymaker

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Tuesday called for Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen 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.”

{mosads}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 Harris (Calif.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), and Tina Smith (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.

Tags Dick Durbin Jeff Merkley Kirstjen Nielsen Mazie Hirono Tammy Duckworth Tina Smith
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