November 20, 2017

Duckworth & Durbin Respond to DHS IG Finding that Trump Administration Violated Several Court Orders When Implementing Muslim Ban Executive Order


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) issued a joint statement today after receiving an update on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Inspector General's investigation into the federal government's chaotic and potentially illegal implementation of President Trump's first Muslim ban. The Inspector General's investigation - which was launched following a request from Senators Duckworth, Durbin and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) - found that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) violated at least two separate federal court orders and likely deprived travelers of their constitutional rights. However, the Department of Homeland Security has refused to release the Inspector General's 87-page report, which was concluded six weeks ago, and is reportedly exploring the unprecedented step of blocking the report's release. The update from DHS Inspector General John Roth is available here.

"We know that CBP officers have a difficult job-but when the President failed to provide even the most basic guidance or warning regarding his discriminatory and unconstitutional Muslim Ban, he clearly didn't make it any easier," said Senators Duckworth and Durbin. "It's disappointing that the DHS Inspector General found that CBP violated two separate federal court orders during the chaotic implementation of this ill-conceived Executive Order, but it is frankly unacceptable that the Trump Administration now appears to be hiding that information not just from Congress, but from the public as well. The rule of law and our Constitutional protections mean little if law enforcement is empowered by the President to disregard them. If the Trump Administration decides to bury an Inspector General report suggesting that's what happened, there will be repercussions in Congress."

The independent federal watchdog also found that the Trump administration gave the leadership of CBP, the DHS entity primarily responsible for carrying out the executive order, virtually no warning and the executive order caught the agency by surprise. As a result, CBP was unable to issue definitive guidance on how to carry out the order, which caused widespread chaos and the indiscriminate detention of legal permanent U.S. residents and previously vetted travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries at O'Hare International Airport and airports across the country.

Senators Duckworth, Durbin and McCaskill's request for an investigation into the implementation of the President's discriminatory executive order is available here.