WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last week Restore Public Trust announced a coalition of more than three dozen progressive groups calling on Fortune 500 CEOs and corporate America to ostracize senior officials involved in the Trump Administration’s family separation policy.
In response to news that Ron Vitiello, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement is resigning, Restore Public Trust senior advisor Kyle Herrig released the following statement:
“While we are glad that another senior administration official who was instrumental in planning and executing the child separation policy will no longer be in a position of authority, simply leaving does not absolve Mr. Vitiello of his wrongdoing. Tearing children away from their parents and putting them in cages to send a message to migrant families seeking asylum is reprehensible. The senior administration officials responsible for this policy cannot be allowed to seek refuge in America’s boardrooms or corner offices.”
For more information on Restore Public Trust’s efforts to hold current and former members of the Trump Administration accountable, visit http://trumpadminseparation.org.
Below please find background on Vitiello’s role in implementing the zero-tolerance policy:
Vitiello Refused To Rule Out Future Family Separations. “Ronald D. Vitiello, a veteran law enforcement official tapped by President Trump to run U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, faced criticism at his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday for refusing to rule out the possibility that the Trump administration could resort again to separating migrant parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border… Vitiello said that, for now, the president has ordered U.S. immigration officials to keep families together, but he said that detaining them all — or giving them the option to split up — could deter rising numbers of families seeking refuge at the Mexican border, including a caravan of mostly Hondurans that has infuriated the president.” [Washington Post, 11/15/18]
Vitiello In August 2018: “We Supported What The President Did.” Asked in an August 2018 interview with Neil Cavuto if he supported the family separation policy, Vitiello said, “We supported what the president did, which was re-calibrate where we were.” [Fox News, 8/20/18]
Vitiello Did Not Say Whether He Agreed With Pediatricians That Long-Term Detention Was Harmful To Minors. “Senator Maggie Hassan, Democrat of New Hampshire, pressed Mr. Vitiello on the detention of migrant children, asking if he agreed with a report by the American Academy of Pediatrics that found that long-term detention physically and emotionally harmed minors. ‘Do you agree with pediatricians?’ Ms. Hassan said. ‘Do you accept that long-term detention of children is detrimental?’ ‘I understand the report, yes,’ answered Mr. Vitiello, who was the acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection when the zero-tolerance policy was put in place. He did not say whether he agreed with the report’s findings.” [New York Times, 11/15/18]
Vitiello Called Democrats “NeoKlanist” Party In 2015 Tweet. “Vitiello was questioned by Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., about a tweet Vitiello sent from a personal account in 2015. It was in reply to a message to conservative talk show host Mark Levin asking for new names for the Democratic party. Vitiello responded: ‘liberalcratic party or the NeoKlanist party.’ He told senators it was wrong to send it, though he added he thought he was sending a direct message, not a public tweet. ‘It’s important and I understand the gravity, it was meant as a joke I wasn’t trying to do anything other than make a joke. I regret it,’ he said.” [Associated Press, 11/15/18]