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Previously Unreported 1,250 Children Traumatized By Family Separations Offer Reminder Why Fortune Should Rescind Summit Invitation to Kirstjen Nielsen

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The scale of the Trump administration’s unconscionable family separation policy continues to widen. As Courthouse News reports, “the federal government likely separated an additional 1,250 immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border before formally announcing its ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy, a Health and Human Services official told a federal judge Friday.” 

By our calculation, this means that the total number of children ripped from their parents as a result of family separation was at least 4,000 – before the formal announcement of the practice, during the official “zero tolerance” policy era, and since the supposed end of the practice through the exploitation of the “best interests of the child” provisions in the relevant litigation. 

These latest revelations about the scope of family separations only add more fuel to the growing controversy over Fortune magazine’s indefensible decision to invite former Trump administration DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to take part in their “Most Powerful Women Summit” in Washington this week. 

According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director at America’s Voice: 

Kirstjen Nielsen defended and enabled the indefensible and presided over this dark chapter of our history. Under her leadership, thousands of children were ripped away from their parents’ arms, and many were put in cages. Some of these kids have still not been reunited, and all of them will carry the scars of long lasting trauma thanks to Kirstjen Nielsen’s actions on behalf of the Trump administration. The architects of family separation are human rights abusers, and they must be held accountable for their actions – not normalized and feted at Washington events. 

This isn’t a debate over hearing different perspectives and points of view. It’s a test for whether elite Beltway society will engage in the whitewashing and normalizing of a practice that is and should always remain a moral stain on America. We thank the courageous participants who have backed out of sharing a stage and a summit billing with Nielsen, and we call on Fortune to rescind their invite to Kirstjen Nielsen to take part.

Slate magazine recaps the growing outcry over Nielsen’s participation in the Fortune summit and the decision by Hillary Clinton, filmmaker Dream Hampton, and singer Brandi Carlile to drop out of their participation in the summit as a result of Nielsen’s involvement. The Slate piece notes that “More than 51,000 people have signed a petition asking Fortune to remove Nielsen from the agenda” and recaps the comments of a Clinton advisor, who aptly summed up the stakes:

“While there’s an argument to be made to hear all voices, there are those who fall outside of what should be the band of acceptable behavior and public policymaking,” the person said, describing the actions of Nielsen’s Department of Homeland Security as “one of the most horrific things that we’ve had to bear witness to within our borders in modern political history.”