Durbin Statement On DOJ IG Report On Trump Administration's Family Separation Policy

SPRINGFIELD—U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee, today released the following statement after a New York Times article reported on a forthcoming Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report on family separation, which Durbin requested in July 2018:

“Even these brief excerpts of the DOJ OIG report I requested tell a sickening story of the zero-tolerance policy that forcibly separated thousands of infants, toddlers, and children from their parents at our border.

“The children were not collateral damage in law enforcement.  They were targets of a cruel strategy to create a gruesome warning to any others seeking refuge in our country that their children would pay a price.  The architects of this shameful policy were White House advisor Stephen Miller, then-Attorney General Sessions, then-Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, and then-Secretary of Homeland Security Nielsen.  But the driving force behind it was the President himself.

“Public outrage finally led the President to relent on zero-tolerance and a federal judge to ultimately demand a public accounting of the separated children. However, while it’s no longer in the headlines, families continue to be separated by the Trump Administration.

“This OIG report confirms many of the details behind one of the most heinous policies of the Trump presidency.  Those who executed the zero-tolerance policy will have to live with the knowledge that their cruelty and cowardice were responsible for the scars these children will carry the rest of their lives.  They must be held accountable for the fundamental human rights violations that they perpetrated.”

In July 2018, Durbin led 30 of his Senate colleagues in a letter to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz calling for an investigation into DOJ’s role in the creation and implementation of the Trump Administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy.