March 07, 2018

Duckworth & Durbin on Release of Congolese Mother Who Was Detained & Separated from 7-Year-Old Daughter


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement after the release of a Congolese woman who was detained and separated from her 7-year-old daughter after they fled to the U.S. seeking asylum four months ago. Duckworth and Durbin wrote to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen last week urging the Trump Administration to immediately reunite this mother and her child. This morning Durbin spoke with Nielsen, who told him the case is under investigation and committed to report back to the Senators on the investigation’s outcome.

“While it’s a positive step that this mother is no longer detained—immigration officials found she fled to America because she feared her life was in danger—there is still a little 7-year-old girl sitting in a Chicago facility, scared and wondering whether she’ll ever see her mother again. She shouldn’t have to wait another day, and the Administration should immediately reunite them. The Trump Administration’s handling of this entire incident has been shameful. The Administration needs to explain why this happened in the first place and they must come clean about how many other families seeking asylum they have torn apart over the past year.”

In their letter to Secretary Nielsen, the Senators also asked how many asylum-seeking children and parents have been separated and detained by the Trump Administration as well as whether DHS plans to continue this cruel and inhumane policy. The Administration has not yet responded to the Senators’ reque