Durbin, Duckworth spur federal investigation into Trump ‘travel ban’

Kevin HoffmanReboot Illinois

Feb 02, 2017

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General has opened an independent investigation into President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order that temporarily bars travelers and refugees of seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the country.

The federal probe was spurred by a letter from Democratic U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, who on Jan. 29 requested the department’s independent inspector general investigate the “potentially illegal implementation” of Trump’s executive order that resulted in  “the apparent indiscriminate detention of legal permanent U.S. residents and previously vetted travelers… at O’Hare International Airport and airports across the country,” according to Duckworth’s office.

DHS Inspector General John Roth, a holdover from President Barack Obama’s administration, notified the Illinois senators in a letter Wednesday that his office will conduct an investigation into the department’s implementation of the executive order.

“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,” Duckworth said in statement. “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.”

The investigation also will determine whether law enforcement officers at Washington Dulles International Airport violated a federal court order that temporarily blocked parts of Trump’s order by refusing to allow travelers with valid immigrant visas access to legal counsel.

“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,” Durbin said in a statement.

Amid protests and criticism over the immigration order, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Sunday said green-card holders from the seven countries wouldn’t be stopped, but that the rest of order would remain in place for the original 120 day as officials review the vetting process of refugees.

The White House has defended the move and dismissed the notion that the executive order constituted an immigration ban singling out Muslims.

“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,” Durbin said. “We must remain vigilant to ensure that our fundamental Constitutional rights are protected, and our law enforcement agents must remain allies in that effort.”

Duckworth-Durbin Letter by Reboot Illinois on Scribd

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