Durbin Statement On DOJ Investigation Into Trump Administration's Family Separation Crisis

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate’s Immigration Subcommittee, today released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General announced that it will initiate a review of the Justice Department’s implementation of the Trump Administration’s zero-tolerance policy.  Durbin and 30 of his Senate colleagues called for this investigation in a letter to DOJ Inspector General Horowitz in July.  This news follows today’s release of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Inspector General’s report on the zero-tolerance policy, which Durbin requested in March. 

It is completely unacceptable that no one in the Trump Administration has been held accountable for the humanitarian crisis created by its family separation policy.  Attorney General Sessions, who is well known for his anti-immigrant views, has been a leading champion of the so-called ‘zero-tolerance’ policy.  The Inspector General needs to get to the bottom of the Justice Department’s role in this disgraceful debacle, which led to thousands of children being separated from their parents, including at least 136 kids who have still not been reunited today.

The DHS IG report, which Durbin and 23 of his Senate colleagues requested in March, found that “DHS was not fully prepared to implement the Administration’s Zero Tolerance Policy or to deal with some of its after-effects,” and “DHS struggled to identify, track, and reunify families separated under Zero Tolerance due to limitations with its information technology systems, including a lack of integration between systems.”  Durbin’s request for this report followed press reports of the case of a seven-year-old girl and her mother from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who were separated for more than four months after they presented themselves at the U.S. border and sought protection in accordance with the law.