California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris urged the resignation of Department Of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Monday as the administration continues to rip families apart at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“The government should be in the business of keeping families together, not tearing them apart,” Harris said in a release. “And the government should have a commitment to transparency and accountability. Under Secretary Nielsen’s tenure, the Department of Homeland Security has a track record of neither. As a result, she must resign.”
Nielsen, who the Senate confirmed as secretary last December, is becoming notoriously recognized as lightning rod for the department. She has opened her mouth, to the dismay of activists, to actually try to defend the administration’s harmful immigration policies. The DHS secretary joined Attorney General Jeff Sessions to double down on their defense of the administration’s horrifying practice of taking parents away from their children, ABC News reported. Nielsen—who was nominated by President Donald Trump and vowed to carry out the legacy of her former DHS Secretary and current White House Chief Of Staff John Kelly despite his racist rants about immigration— unsurprisingly offered no apology for the administration’s actions Monday.
It was Sessions that introduced a “zero-tolerance” policy in April that includes prosecuting all people, including parents, who cross the border illegally and deporting them. This so-called policy is enforced even when parents are with young children who are carted away to detention facilities. Video of a facility in McAllen, Texas, was shared Monday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, raising more questions about the safety, protection and care (or lack of) given to detainees. Dozens of children were seen standing or sitting in cages made from metal fencing inside a deteriorating warehouse converted into a makeshift holding facility in the clip, with nearly 200 people being unaccompanied minors, The Hill reported.
As of now, 1,147 children have been separated from parents at the facility in McAllen, Democratic Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline said.
U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who visited the Texas facility along with other lawmakers and media, has joined other politicians and public figures in speaking out against the immigration policies and detention centers.
It looks like Harris, who is seemingly also positioning herself as a prime presidential candidate if she decides to run, could get more support from Lee and others in pushing for Nielsen to step down and an end to the administration’s zero-tolerance immigration guideline.