Durbin Calls on DHS Secretary Nielsen to Resign Over ‘Cruel’ Family Separations

Tuesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration policy, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) called for Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to resign over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which caused some migrant children to be separated from their parents after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

Durbin said, “This policy shows the extremes this administration will go to to punish families fleeing horrific gang and sexual violence and seeking refuge in the United States. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly bragged that forcibly separating children from their parents is quote, ‘a tough deterrent,’ close quote. The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics calls it what it is—government sanctioned child abuse. Incredibly, Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen claimed, and I quote, ‘We do not have a policy of separating the families at the border, period.’ It was under her watch that 2,700 children were separated from their parents and more than 700 children still have not been reunited with their families, including more than 400 whose parents were apparently deported and more than 90 whose parents cannot be located at all.”

He continued, “What will become of these children and their parents? Who border agents sadly called, quote, ‘deleted family units.’ In the name of these deleted family units, 711 lost children, and common decency, I am today calling on the architect of this humanitarian disaster, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, to step down. The family separation policy is more than a bureaucratic lapse in judgment. It is and was a cruel policy inconsistent with the bedrock values of the nation. Someone in this administration has to accept responsibility. We can have border security without bullying. We can be safe without treating toddlers as terrorists.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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