“They’re Not Cages”: Nielsen Dodges and Feigns Ignorance on Family Separation, Blames Migrant Parents

WASHINGTON – Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen continued to mislead the American public today when she testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security. Sec. Nielsen dodged basic questions on the Trump administration’s horrific family separation policy and feigned ignorance on basic statistics.

“Nielsen had one of the best opportunities of her dreadful tenure to answer basic questions about the Trump administration’s amoral and disastrous family separation policy. Not only did she dodge these questions, she used the hearing to essentially blame migrant parents for her own policy of caging children.” said Karl Frisch, a spokesperson for Restore Public Trust.

Under questioning from Democratic committee members, many of whom state they’ve had  simple requests for information ignored in recent months, Sec. Nielsen was defiant and took great pains to defend the indefensible. Her lies and dodges, too numerous to list in full, include:

 

  • “We don’t use cages for children.”
  • “There is no policy of family separation,” contrary to what leaked internal memos have shown.
  • “There was no parent that has been deported, to my knowledge, without multiple opportunities to take their children with them.”
  • When asked by Rep. Jackson-Lee, “Do you know how many young people are detained?” she feigned ignorance by saying “I don’t have that in front of me.”
  • Claiming she didn’t know that separating children would lead to lasting trauma, saying “The information that I was aware of at the time was that the trauma was part of the journey to come up to the border illegally.”

 

 

 

“Nielsen’s performance demonstrated her callous approach to this crisis, proving that her top priority is defending the President not innocent children or American values of justice and freedom.” added Frisch. “Congressional investigations appear to be the only avenue to hold Trump officials accountable for their disastrous and inhumane policies.”

Last week, Restore Public Trust launched a new campaign to hold accountable the agencies, companies, and individuals who are responsible for developing, implementing, and/or defending the policy, including a mobile billboard launched this week in Atlanta blasting CNN for hiring Sarah Isgur, former spokesperson for then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions who defended the horrifying policy, as 2020 political editor. RPT will also drive accountability campaigns against lawmakers in their home states and target corporations who are benefiting from the policy. They will also encourage companies to avoid hiring or working with any Trump Administration officials who were involved in developing, implementing, or defending the family separation policy.

 

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Press Release

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