Homeland Security chief says migrant children are 'well taken care of' a day after denying it was policy to detain them
- Department of Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen on Monday said migrant children separated from their parents are being "well taken care of" just a day after claiming it wasn't administration policy to detain them in the first place.
- "We have to do our job; we will not apologize doing for our job," Nielsen said.
- The Trump administration is being criticized by both sides of the aisle for this policy.
Department of Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen on Monday said migrant children separated from their parents are being "well taken care of" just a day after claiming it wasn't administration policy to detain them in the first place.
"It is important to know that these minors are very well taken care of. Don't believe the press," Nielsen said in an address to the National Sheriffs Association.
"We have to do our job; we will not apologize doing for our job. ... This administration has a simple message: If you cross the border illegally, we will prosecute you," she added.This came less than 24 hours after the Homeland Security chief took to Twitter and denied the policy of separating children from their families existed.
"We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period," Nielsen tweeted.
But Attorney General Jeff Sessions has explicitly endorsed this "zero tolerance" policy.
"If you cross the border unlawfully...we will prosecute you," Sessions said in May. "If you're smuggling a child, then we're going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law. If you don't want your child separated, then don't bring them across the border illegally."
Nielsen's claim the children are being "very well taken care of" is also open to debate. Journalists who last week visited a facility in Brownsville, Texas housing roughly 1,500 boys learned the young men were only allowed outside for two hours a day and said the conditions were prison-like.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump continues to blame Democrats for what's occurring. Trump on Monday tweeted, "It is the Democrats fault for being weak and ineffective with Boarder Security and Crime. Tell them to start thinking about the people devastated by Crime coming from illegal immigration. Change the laws!"Last week, the Associated Press obtained figures from the Department of Homeland Security that showed roughly 2,000 migrant children have been separated from their parents over a recent six-week period.
"We will not apologize" for doing our job, says Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen of the "zero tolerance" immigration policy involving family separations https://t.co/nRw3Z8BpTH- CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 18, 2018
Here are some photos of the boys in the cafeteria.When I told @chrislhayes it felt like a prison or jail, I was thinking about this. pic.twitter.com/feZI46SPAc- Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) June 14, 2018
This is not a school cafeteria.
Hundreds called to eat at a time on rotating shifts.