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Secretary Nielsen Must Resign for State-Sanctioned Child Abuse and Congress Must Do Its Job to Ensure this Never Happens Again

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As a result of the cruelty and incompetence that embodies the ongoing family separation crisis:

  1. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen should resign. Under her watch, DHS performed state-sanctioned kidnapping, ripping children away from their parents arms and exposing them to inhumane living conditions and child abuse. After launching complete chaos, Nielsen abdicated all qualities of leadership by sending subordinates to testify in Congress rather than addressing the actions of her department herself.
  2. Congress should do its job and provide sustained oversight to demand accountability from those responsible and to ensure that this never happens again. Congress likes to hand wring and point fingers, but the GOP leadership seems content with doing nothing. Yesterday’s hearing brought up more questions than answers, and Secretary Nielsen must respond and be held accountable.


The following is a statement from Pili Tobar, Managing Director of America’s Voice:

Secretary Nielsen needs to go. And Congress needs to do its job to provide oversight and accountability.

Hundreds of families remain separated and thousands of children have suffered lasting trauma and severe abuse as a direct result of this administration’s policy choices. Just yesterday, a child released from ICE custody died shortly following her stay at an ICE Detention Center in Texas, possibly as a result of negligent care and a respiratory illness contracted from a fellow child detainee. Sadly, this tragedy comes as no surprise given the personal accounts of many mothers, fathers, and children regarding the conditions of the detention centers and the abuse they suffered.

We remain in the midst of a moral travesty of historic proportions. The Trump administration seized, separated and traumatized thousands of innocent children — many who still remain in detention separated from their parents–, without even having a plan to reunite them, and those responsible for conceiving, executing, and excusing these cruel actions must be held responsible. Yet DOJ, CBP and ICE officials are spewing bureaucratic doublespeak, refusing to admit that anything went wrong, lying about the conditions of detention centers — some are even referring to them as “summer camps,” and minimizing the consequences of their actions and choices.

Secretary Nielsen must be held accountable. We strongly support the call of Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and the contingent of nine Democratic Senators and a host of Democratic House members calling on Secretary Nielsen to resign.

And we call on Members of Congress of both parties to launch a full-scale investigation into what happened so that something like this never happens again. One single hearing isn’t enough. If they don’t take this seriously and commit to doing their job and holding those responsible accountable, then let’s elect a Congress that will.