Duckworth Statement on One Year Anniversary of Launch of Independent Investigation into First Trump Muslim Ban
Duckworth urges DHS to release full results of investigation into Trump Administration’s chaotic implementation of ban
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Exactly one year after the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) independent watchdog launched an investigation into its implementation of President Trump’s first Muslim Ban, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) called on the Trump Administration to stop covering up portions of the investigation’s findings and release the full results to the American public. The investigation, which was launched by the DHS Inspector General on February 2, 2017 at the request of Duckworth and Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO), found the Trump Administration violated multiple court orders, likely deprived travelers of their constitutional rights and failed to provide any warning or basic guidance to the agency charged with carrying out the President’s executive order. Last month, DHS blocked portions of the Inspector General’s report from being publicly released, preventing the American public from knowing entirely how and why the Trump administration fell down on the job, broke the law and caused chaos at airports across the country.
“One year after Donald Trump unleashed chaos at airports across the country with his first discriminatory and unconstitutional Muslim travel ban, the Trump Administration continues to try to cover up its gross mismanagement and incompetent implementation,” said Senator Duckworth. “The strength and integrity of our democracy depends on holding government officials accountable for their actions. If the Trump Administration truly believes the first Muslim travel ban was lawful, they would not have tried to prevent the American people from knowing how they violated multiple court orders and failed to provide even the most basic guidance or warning to the government agency charged with carrying out the executive order – and they would release the entire, un-redacted investigative report.”
The investigation by the DHS Inspector General’s office resulted in an 87-page report, which was delivered to the DHS on October 6, 2017 for a routine review. DHS spent the next few months delaying the report’s release with little explanation, prompting then-DHS Inspector General Roth to write to Senators Duckworth, Durbin and McCaskill in late November to warn that DHS was considering either blocking the report’s release or heavily redacting it by taking the unprecedented step of invoking deliberative process privilege.
In response, Duckworth met with Roth to discuss the investigation’s findings and spent months urging DHS to release a full, un-redacted version of the Inspector General’s findings. She has requested the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hold an oversight hearing on the dangerous precedent of allowing a federal agency to heavily redact its own oversight report and how DHS’ actions could limit future congressional oversight. She has also asked the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity (CIGIE) to survey all federal inspector generals across government to determine how unprecedented DHS’ actions are and whether other agencies across the government have taken similar steps to prevent Inspector Generals from conducting congressionally-mandated oversight.
This week, Duckworth also helped Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduce a resolution on the anniversary of the Muslim Ban that would re-affirm the United States’ commitment to serving as a safe haven for refugees fleeing oppression. The resolution calls upon the United States to uphold its international leadership role in the face of significant displacement crises around the world by continuing to welcome refugees to America and to provide humanitarian assistance.
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