February 08, 2017

Duckworth Presses DHS Inspector General on Status of Investigation She Requested Into Trump Travel Ban


WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today pressed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General (IG) John Roth for an update on his office's independent investigation into the Federal Government's chaotic and potentially illegal implementation of President Trump's "Muslim ban." During a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing, Duckworth also highlighted the importance of independent oversight of the Federal Government, especially in light of the President's recent comments questioning the legitimacy and integrity of the judicial branch and the Trump Transition team's recent communications indicating they might replace agency IGs, despite a long, bipartisan tradition of IGs conducting oversight across multiple Administrations. Video of Duckworth's remarks is available here.

"Inspectors General must be politically independent in order to properly prioritize and eliminate waste, fraud and abuse when it's uncovered," said Senator Duckworth. "I was gratified to see Inspector General Roth respond swiftly to my request for a comprehensive investigation into the Federal Government's chaotic implementation of President Trump's immigration executive order and I look forward to receiving an update on the status of that investigation shortly."

The DHS Office of Inspector General launched its investigation last week following a request from Senator Duckworth and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). Specifically, the Senators urged the Inspector General to investigate the apparent 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. They also urged Inspector General Roth to investigate whether U.S. law enforcement officers violated a federal court order by refusing to allow legal permanent residents being held at Dulles Airport to access legal counsel. A copy of letter Senators Duckworth and Durbin sent to Inspector Roth is available here. Inspector General Roth's letter notifying the Senators of the investigation is available here.

Duckworth also expressed concern about whether President Trump's poorly conceived hiring freeze will hinder the ability to provide vital oversight over government programs. "I know that your work as IGs leads to the correction of wasteful practices and the elimination of inefficiencies," Senator Duckworth added. "That sounds like a good deal for the American taxpayers, which leads me to question whether this hiring freeze could affect your abilities to carry out your duties and protect taxpayers."