The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is calling DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to appear before the panel — having only done so once since she took the office.
Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Johnson (D-MS) wrote Nielsen a letter, saying:
“As chairman, I intend to ensure the Committee on Homeland Security fulfills its constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight of your Department, including its implementation of President Trump’s border policy. In your year-long tenure, you have testified before the Committee only once. Another appearance is overdue.”
“The Committee’s first hearing will focus on critical border security matters, to include the border wall, metering of individuals seeking asylum at ports of entry, and the treatment of children in U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) custody. As such, I request your participation.”
Thompson was also critical of a presentation Nielsen gave to Congress on Friday defending the Trump administration’s immigration and border policies.
“Your border security presentation submitted to Congress today is yet another example of the misinformation and outright lies the Trump Administration has used to make the case for the President’s boondoggle border wall, defend the government shutdown, and distract the American people from a border policy so flawed that children have died in Department of Homeland Security custody.
Johnson’s strongly worded letter indicates that House Democrats will follow through on their promise to provide thorough oversight of the Trump administration now that they control the House of Representatives.
The Trump administration’s border policies and the Department of Homeland Security have been the subject of outrage and criticism for the past year, especially their policy of separating children from their parents. Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy drew global condemnation for sending thousands of children to government-run detention centers.
Two migrant children, Jakelin Caal Maquin and Felipe Gómez Alonzo, recently died in government custody. Nielsen said at the time that the government bore no responsibility for the deaths.
Nielsen has also helped Trump put in policies to restrict migrants’ ability to obtain asylum and forcing migrants seeking asylum to wait in Mexico while their requests are processed. These policies are being challenged in federal courts.
Kirstjen Nielsen is about to find out that the rubber-stamp Republicans are no longer in charge, and she will no longer have a free pass to break laws while implementing Donald Trump‘s horrible immigration policies. Everything she and her Department of Homeland Security do from now on will be under intense scrutiny, and if she breaks any laws she will be held accountable.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.