tags: , , , , AVEF, Press Releases

Incompetence and Cruelty: DHS Secretary Nielsen Tries to Defend the Indefensible

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We must stop “separate and lose” child policy

Trump Administration separating kids from asylum-seeking parents and putting them on military bases, while losing track of whereabouts of other children in government custody

At a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing yesterday, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the Trump Administration’s shameful decision to separate children from their parents in an attempt to deter asylum seekers. Meanwhile, Secretary Nielsen had no answers for how the Trump Administration lost track of nearly 1,500 children, mostly undocumented minors, that were in its custody at the end of 2017 — or how the administration will ensure such incompetency will not be repeated.

As Tal Kopan recapped for CNN, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) put the developments into the important context of basic decency:

We are begging you, if in fact this is going to be the outcome, where we’re separating children, in some cases infants, from their parents, we need to know where these kids are. What you’re doing to children when you take them away from their parents is the most trauma impactful thing you can do to a child.

Yet despite Secretary Nielsen’s stated assurances and supposed concern about protecting children, the Washington Post reported yesterday that the Trump Administration is planning to warehouse children separated from their parents on military bases.

According to Pili Tobar, Managing Director of America’s Voice:

We’re witnessing a shameful mix of incompetency, inhumanity, and basic cruelty. It’s impossible to square Secretary Nielsen’s supposed concern with protecting children’s well-being with the Trump Administration’s policies of separating these same kids from their parents and moving them to military bases. And we’re supposed to trust that the same administration that has lost 1,500 children in their custody are now acting in good faith and up to the standards of basic competency? Kids belong with their parents, not alone and on military bases, and our country deserves better than the leaders behind this shameful vision being implemented in our names. The policy of separate and lose must stop – stop separating children from their parents and losing track of them.