February 02, 2017

Independent Federal Investigation of Potentially Illegal Trump Travel Ban Launched at Duckworth & Durbin’s Request


WASHINGTON, DC - Following a request from U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) independent Office of Inspector General (OIG) launched an investigation into the Federal Government's chaotic and potentially illegal implementation of President Trump's "travel ban" executive order. The independent federal watchdog is investigating 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. The investigation is also examining 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 DHS Inspector General John Roth's letter to Duckworth and Durbin notifying them of the investigation is available here.

"I commend the Inspector General for acting swiftly on our request for an immediate comprehensive investigation into the Federal Government's chaotic implementation of President Trump's discriminatory, ill-conceived and potentially unconstitutional executive order," said Senator Duckworth. "Wasting taxpayer dollars on unwarranted and unjust detentions of lawful permanent residents is shameful and it is un-American. The protections enshrined in our Constitution mean little if law enforcement agents feel empowered by the President to disregard them or if Americans are unwilling to defend them. The American people are relying on this investigation to help ensure that this President does not trample upon anyone's constitutional rights or overreach through either malice or ignorance."

"Americans must insist that our immigration authorities act with transparency and in accordance with our Constitution. The detention of lawful permanent residents and others who have been thoroughly vetted by the U.S. government is unacceptable and raises serious questions about the development and implementation of last week's executive order banning refugees and Muslims," said Senator Durbin "Though I'm encouraged by the DHS Inspector General's decision to investigate the chaotic implementation of this un-American and unconstitutional executive order, I will continue to fight for it to be revoked. We must remain vigilant to ensure that our fundamental Constitutional rights are protected, and our law enforcement agents must remain allies in that effort."

Senators Duckworth and Durbin sent the DHS Office of Inspector General a letter on Sunday night requesting an investigation into the chaotic execution of the Executive Order. Specifically, the Senators' letter requested an investigation into the following:

  • 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.

The full text of the Duckworth-Durbin letter is available here.