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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

Senators Request Investigation into DHS Implementation of Trump’s Executive Order

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2017
Contact: Sean Savett (Duckworth), (202) 256-2935
Monica Garcia (Durbin), (202) 224-7028

Duckworth & Durbin Request Immediate Investigation into Department of Homeland Security’s Implementation of Trump’s Executive Order

[CHICAGO, IL] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) today called on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General to immediately initiate an independent investigation into the agency’s potentially illegal implementation of President Trump’s executive order. This rushed and poorly drafted Trump Administration initiative endangers our national security by limiting travel from certain Muslim-majority countries, and it may violate long-standing immigration law in its treatment of legal permanent residents by undermining vital rights like due process and equal protection that are guaranteed by the United States Constitution. On the day after the executive order was issued, approximately 18 people were detained at O’Hare International Airport, including several legal permanent residents.

“The chaotic execution of this [Executive Order] … raises serious concerns in regard to whether taxpayer dollars were efficiently and effectively spent, rather than wasted on unwarranted and unjust detentions of lawful permanent residents (LPRs) and others who posed no security threat, and who had already been authorized by the United States Government to enter our country,” Duckworth and Durbin wrote. “We are deeply concerned by [Customs and Border Protection’s] failure to respond to time-sensitive Congressional oversight inquiries and allegations that the agency refused to permit attorneys to meet with detained LPRs at O’Hare and other airports across the country.”

The Senators’ letter requests an investigation into:

· How DHS & the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) prepared to implement the executive order and what guidance they provided to the White House during development of it;
· What guidance and training was provided to CBP employees to make sure the executive order was implemented in a consistent and fair manner that protected the constitutional rights of all detained individuals;
· How DHS & CBP determined which information to share with the public and whether they kept a list of all detained individuals;
· Whether CBP officers at airports were informed of the court orders and given instructions on how to comply with them;
· Whether CBP officers violated any court order. If so, who directed such actions; what will be done to hold violators accountable; and what will CBP do to prevent violations of the rule of law from ever occurring again;
· What complaints about violations of court orders have been received and how they were resolved.

“We are particularly alarmed by allegations that CBP Officers and potentially other Department personnel, failed to comply with a temporary restraining order … that directed CBP to provide detained LPRs at Dulles International Airport with access to attorneys. Such allegations should not be taken lightly and require swift investigative action by your office.Duckworth and Durbin added. “The United States Constitution means little if law enforcement agents disregard it, or if Americans are unwilling to defend its principles and respect foundational constitutional rights, from due process to equal protection under the law. The American people are relying on your independent investigators to serve as a check against a powerful law enforcement agency that may be violating the civil rights of LPRs and operating in violation of the law.”

The full text of the letter is as follows:

VIA ELECTRONIC DELIVERY

The Honorable John Roth
Inspector General
Office of the Inspector General
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
245 Murray Lane SW
Washington, DC 20528-0305

Dear Inspector General Roth:

We are writing to request that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) immediately initiate a comprehensive investigation into DHS implementation of “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Entry into the United States by Foreign Nationals,” an Executive Order (EO) signed on Friday, January 27, 2017.

The chaotic execution of this EO by DHS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel raises serious concerns in regard to whether taxpayer dollars were efficiently and effectively spent, rather than wasted on unwarranted and unjust detentions of lawful permanent residents (LPRs) and others who posed no security threat, and who had already been authorized by the United States Government to enter our country.

Reports indicate CBP Officers detained LPRs at O’Hare for a prolonged period of time with no access to legal counsel. We are deeply concerned by CBP’s failure to respond to time-sensitive Congressional oversight inquiries and allegations that the agency refused to permit attorneys to meet with detained LPRs at O’Hare and other airports across the country.

CBP’s refusal to allow detained legal permanent residents to meet with legal counsel is especially troubling in light of the determination by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York that it is likely the removal of the detained individuals would have violated their rights to Due Process and Equal Protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution. We are particularly alarmed by allegations that CBP Officers and potentially other Department personnel, failed to comply with a temporary restraining order issued by Judge Leonie M. Brinkema of the United States District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, that directed CBP to provide detained LPRs at Dulles International Airport with access to attorneys. Such allegations should not be taken lightly and require swift investigative action by your office. We must ensure that CBP is held accountable for following the law and respecting our Nation’s system of checks and balances.

Accordingly, we request that DHS OIG investigate DHS and CBP implementation of the Executive Order signed on Friday, January 27, 2017. Specifically, we request that DHS OIG investigate:

· How DHS and CBP prepared to implement the EO and what guidance DHS and CBP personnel provided to the White House during development of the EO;
· What guidance and training were provided to CBP Management and Officers to make sure the EO was implemented in a consistent and fair manner that protected the constitutional rights of all detained individuals;
· How DHS and CBP determined what information to share with the public;
· Whether DHS and CBP kept a list of all detained individuals and if not, why not;
· Whether, when, and how CBP officers at airports nationwide were informed of court orders affecting implementation of the EO, including what specific information and instruction CBP officers were provided regarding compliance with court orders;
· What steps DHS and CBP took to ensure that all DHS and CBP personnel complied with all relevant court orders;
· What complaints CBP received regarding its compliance with the relevant court orders and how these complaints were resolved;
· Whether CPB officers took action that was contrary to any court orders and if so, what actions were taken, where were they taken and who directed such actions;
· What justifications CBP officers have proffered for any actions contrary to any court orders;
· What actions CBP has taken, or plans to take, to hold CBP Officers accountable for any violations of a Federal Court order; and
· Any remedial actions CBP has instituted to prevent any violations from occurring again.

The United States Constitution means little if law enforcement agents disregard it, or if Americans are unwilling to defend its principles and respect foundational constitutional rights, from due process to equal protection under the law. The American people are relying on your independent investigators to serve as a check against a powerful law enforcement agency that may be violating the civil rights of LPRs and operating in violation of the law.

If you have any questions about this request, please contact Benjamin Rhodeside on Senator Duckworth’s staff at 202-224-2070 or by email at: Benjamin_Rhodeside@duckworth.senate.gov. Thank you in advance for your prompt consideration of my request.

Sincerely,

Tammy Duckworth & Dick Durbin
United States Senators

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