The #2 ranking Senate Democrat has called upon Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Kirstjen Nielsen to resign, following the release of a government watchdog report. The report found that the Trump administration stole thousands more children under the “zero tolerance” policy than was previously known. “No one has been held accountable for this humanitarian disaster at our southern border,” Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois tweeted. “DHS Secretary Nielsen should accept responsibility for this outrage and resign.”
America can have border security without bullying and we can be safe without treating toddlers as terrorists. DHS Secretary Nielsen should accept responsibility for this outrage and resign.
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) January 17, 2019
While the administration said that more than 2,500 children had been kidnapped under the 2018 policy, the Office of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General has revealed that government employees were separating children from their families some time before that.
“How many more children were separated is unknown by us and HHS,” the OIG said Thursday. According to NBC News, “some may have been released to family or nonrelative sponsors, but it is not known how many have been reunified.”
Newly empowered House Democrats weighed in on this humanitarian disaster.
“I have been seeking information that would help reunify these children since last year, but the Trump administration refuses to comply,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who now leads the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. “As Chairman, I will do everything in my power to obtain the documents I’ve requested to ensure the administration is held accountable for this callous and immoral policy.”
The watchdog’s report also found that, despite Trump official claims, there was no central system linking who was stolen from whom, ensuring that some children could be permanently orphaned.
“The Trump administration’s statements indicating that there was a database were also false,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. “Consistently misleading the public about the administration’s actions is unacceptable. However, what’s infinitely worse is that some families may never be reunited.”
Some children who were separated as a result of the official policy are still in custody, months after a federal judge’s deadline, but it’s unknown how many of the other children who were stolen before the policy have been returned. This is a crime against humanity.
“Today’s bombshell report,” Durbin continued, “reveals the true scope of this horrific policy: that thousands of children were forcibly removed from their parents before the policy was made public and the fate of these children is still unknown.”