If Trump policy is deemed a rule, Congress can begin Congressional Review Act process to overturn inhumane policy


Washington (June 19, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today called on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to weigh in on whether the recently implemented Trump administration “zero tolerance” family separation policy is a rule and therefore subject to a Congressional vote of disapproval through the Congressional Review Act (CRA) process. CRA resolutions of disapproval allow Congress to overturn regulatory actions at federal agencies with a simple majority vote in both chambers.


According to the Department of Homeland Security, under the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy, 2,342 children were taken from their parents at the border between May 5 and June 9 – a rate of almost 70 children per day.


“The U.S. Department of Justice is using the zero-tolerance memorandum to ‘implement, interpret, or prescribe’ national immigration policy. I respectfully request that you evaluate whether the zero-tolerance policy memorandum constitutes a ‘rule’ under the CRA,” writes Senator Markey in his letter to GAO Comptroller General Gene Dodaro. 


A copy of Senator Markey’s letter can be found HERE.


“President Trump’s leadership may be devoid of humanity, but the American people are not and Congress should act now to ban family separation,” said Senator Markey in separate comments. “There is no law that requires the separation of families. There is no court decision that mandates it. The decision to implement this barbaric policy is one the Trump administration made completely on its own. The agony we are inflicting on vulnerable immigrants, many of whom are fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries, is immoral and President Trump is entirely to blame.”


Last month, Senator Markey successfully utilized the CRA process in the Senate to vote to overturn the Federal Communications Commission decision to rescind net neutrality rules.