Democrats Call Out The Trump Administration’s Cruel Family Separation Policy

During a House Homeland Security Committee hearing today, Democrats called out DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for the Trump administration’s cruel policy of separating children from their families at the border, which she continued to defend.

Rep. Nanette Barragán blasted Nielsen for saying the Trump administration tried to separate children from their parents with “compassion.”

CBS News: “After a tense exchange in which she berated Nielsen on reports that some asylum seekers are being turned away at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border, California Democratic Rep. Nanette Barragán blasted the secretary for her role in overseeing the administration’s controversial family separation practice.  ‘You said you waited to give direction on how to implement the zero tolerance policy, because you wanted to do it with compassion,’ she said. ‘Do you know how outrageous that sounds? You wanted to separate children and families, and you wanted to do it with compassion?’ she added emphatically. Before yielding back her time, Barragán sharply rebuked Nielsen. ‘You have no feeling, no compassion, no empathy here,’ she said.”

Rep. Lauren Underwood grilled Nielsen on her ignorance of the trauma children face when separated from their families.

CBS News: “Asked if she knew family separation could cause ‘trauma’ and ‘toxic stress’ for children when the administration implemented the policy, Nielsen said she was only aware of the psychological harm that the perilous journey north from Central America could have on migrant children. She added that she was not familiar with the term ‘toxic stress.’ At one point in the exchange, Nielsen told Underwood, ‘I ask all parents who go to ports of entry not to bring their children.’ Unsatisfied with the secretary’s answers, Underwood said, ‘Tearing kids like this from their parents is immoral.’ She also said it was ‘un-American” and ‘just plain wrong.’”

Nielsen refused to acknowledge that the Trump administration uses cages to detain migrant children at the border.


Daily Beast: “Kirstjen Nielsen Says ‘We Don’t Use Cages for Children’—After U.S. Put Migrant Kids in Cages.”


Washington Post: “‘Sir, They’re Not Cages’: Kirstjen Nielsen Walks A Very Fine Line On Family Separations.”


Nielsen couldn’t say how many children are currently detained at the border.

Washington Post: “When asked Wednesday how many children are detained at the southern U.S. border, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said she didn’t have the number handy. When asked how many ‘special-interest aliens’ are detained at the northern border vs. the southern border, she said she had to check and would follow up.”