DHS Secretary Nielsen Lies About Trump Separating Families At The Border

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen went on Twitter Sunday to defend the Trump Administration’s zero tolerance policy. In the process of doing this, however, she told several lies while also misrepresenting what federal laws require her department to do for people seeking asylum in the United States.

One of her lies concerns the circumstances in which children are separated from their parents:

“For those seeking asylum at ports of entry, we have continued the policy from previous Administrations and will only separate if the child is in danger, there is no custodial relationship between ‘family’ members, or if the adult has broken a law.”

But Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post was quick to point out that Nielsen’s tweet was untrue:

This is false. The @ACLU case challenging Trump policy includes as plaintiffs families that have been separated despite presenting themselves at ports of entry, seeking asylum, and *never* crossing unlawfully into the US.”

In another tweet she lied again, saying “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.”

And this isn’t all. Secretary Nielsen actually said (taking after her boss) that false media reports were the problem:

“This misreporting by Members, press & advocacy groups must stop. It is irresponsible and unproductive. As I have said many times before, if you are seeking asylum for your family, there is no reason to break the law and illegally cross between ports of entry.”

As many people have written, under U.S. law asylum is to be given whether or not people seek it at “ports of entry.” But she wrote incorrectly that asylum is to be given ONLY “at a port of entry.”

You are not breaking the law by seeking asylum at a port of entry.”

So this shows that she is not enforcing the actual asylum laws.  Rather she is enforcing a Trump policy that partially but not completely complies with U.S. asylum laws. Which means they are enforcing the parts of the law that fit their policy of zero tolerance.

In short, what they are doing could be considered illegal.  To lie and misrepresent the laws of the U.S. seems like gross incompetence on the part of the Secretary of Homeland Security. Many people are already calling for her to be fired.

But there’s an even bigger problem with what they are doing.  As we wrote in early June:

“The horror of Trump’s policy to separate migrant children gets worse when one considers the possibility that Trump is trying to criminalize the right to seek asylum.”

Seeking asylum is a right, not a crime, as noted by David Leopold, former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

“It’s perfectly legal for parents and children fleeing horrific violence and dangerous situations to apply for asylum in the U.S. They and their children deserve protection under the law, not inhumane treatment.”

When the DHS Secretary resorts to lies and misrepresenting the laws of the United States you know there is a serious problem.  And Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions DO have a serious problem. They are attempting to use migrant children as pawns in their political chess games.

Trump is not going to win this game.  Public opinion is squarely against him, and Congress is not going to give in to him and provide funding for his nonsensical border wall which has been promised to his racist supporters.