Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen told Fox News that the new Congress’ oversight and checks on the administration, including bipartisan pushback on his fake national emergency, make her “really fear for our democracy,” saying that she thinks “the body who creates the laws is telling the body who enforces the law, ‘just don’t enforce the law.’”
It’s quite a claim from someone who has lied under oath; allowed her border agents to trample on the right to asylum; permitted the illegal, prolonged detention of children in Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities; and willfully violated a federal judge’s order to reunite families separated under the “zero tolerance” policy.
If she wants to talk fear, let’s talk about her youngest victims. Children and their families fled violence and death, but at our southern border, they were literally ripped from each others’ arms under a policy that Nielsen is still claiming doesn’t exist. Months after the judge’s reunification deadline, some are still languishing in U.S. custody. Months after the deaths of two migrant kids in immigration custody, we’re still waiting for answers.
If she wants to talk enforcing the law, let’s talk about how it’s been immigrant rights advocates who have been the ones pressuring officials to follow the law. Just this week, RAICES, the largest immigration legal services provider in Texas, filed a complaint with Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, saying that ICE has been violating a court agreement and detaining children in a migrant family jail for as long as two months. Under pressure, ICE was also forced to release a number of infants from another migrant family jail.
Meanwhile, Nielsen herself has expressed more anger over the cages that children have been jailed in being called cages than over the fact that children were jailed in cages. “You have no feeling, no compassion, no empathy here,” Democratic Rep. Nanette Barragán of California told her during a House oversight hearing earlier this month.
Congress has said no to a border wall, and by fighting Donald Trump’s fake emergency, is actually doing its job. It’s also Congress’ job, and its constitutional duty, to conduct oversight, and that means investigating the humanitarian disasters that Nielsen has helped implement or caused through her own egregious negligence and action. She shouldn’t just be out of a job; she should be under investigation. When she says she is in “fear for our democracy,” she’s really just in fear for her own hide.