DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Immigrant Children
- Author: Rogelio Becker Jun 19, 2018,
Jun 19, 2018, 1:47
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pushed back Monday at the growing condemnation of her agency's practice of separating migrant families at the border, telling a gathering of law enforcement officers "we will not apologize for the job we do". "We do not want adults to bring children into this country unlawfully, placing them at risk", he said. We provide food, medical, education, and all needs that the child requests.... "There are videos, there are TVs", Nielsen said in response to a question from CNN's Jeff Zeleny.
Members of the NY and New Jersey congressional delegations visited a detention facility in New Jersey on Sunday morning, and Washington Rep.
"What the administration has made a decision to do is to separate children from their parents to try to send a message that, if you cross the border with children, your children are going to be ripped away from you", she said. Former First Lady Laura Bush, in a Washington Post op-ed, wrote that "this zero-tolerance policy is cruel".
Trump's deeply controversial plan has earned criticism from other Republicans as well - but most of the elected officials until Monday afternoon had been the Republicans who'd already shown a willingness to criticize Trump in the past, like Sens. "This is a very serious issue that has resulted after years and years of Congress not taking action, so I would thank them both for their comments". I share their concerns.
Nielsen said agents are not acting cruelly, but are enforcing the laws passed by Congress.
Rep. Joe Kennedy, who traveled to the United States-Mexico border in Texas on Sunday and participated in a protest at a facility where families were being forcibly separated, said Nielsen's statement didn't align with what he heard from local officials.
The U.S. separated about 1,995 children from their parents and detained them between mid-April and May 31, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for their care.
"We need Congress to fully fund our ability to hold families together through the immigration process".
Nielsen compared the arrest and separating of migrants families at the border to the arrest of any American.
While Nielsen is technically correct - there's no statute explicitly calling for families to be forcibly separated - it has been the practical and direct effect of this zero-tolerance policy.
"I think the President is trying to find a long-term fix".
She denied that children were being used as a "pawn" in negotiations on Capitol Hill over an immigration measure that would include funding for Trump's promised border wall.
As of 6:11 p.m. EDT, Nielsen's Google biography and Wikipedia link describes her her as a "a notorious child abuser now serving as the United States Secretary of Homeland Security".