Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen is the Democrat’s favorite punching bag, especially as immigration has become the focal point again on the Hill. We’re hours away from a government shutdown because President Trump is digging in, finally demanding Congress give him some of the money for the border wall. It’s only $5 billion, far short of the full $25 billion package, but it’s a start. This will be the only time to get at least something through before Democrats takeover the House and the nation’s economic engine gets clogged up again.
On Thursday, Nielsen testified before the House Judiciary Committee, where Democrats torched the DHS secretaryover family separation. Besides the looming government shutdown, immigration is back in the news because of a tragic death of a seven-year-old migrant, Jakelin Caal Maquin, who was in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol. Of course, the media blamed government officials following the new tough immigration enforcement measures brought forward by the Trump administration.
Alas, the child’s father said it wasn’t the faultof the Border Patrol, who revived her twice before she died at the hospital. The simmering tension between Democrats and the Trump administration over immigration spilled over again yesterday, where outgoing Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) called the DHS secretary a liar over child separation. Oh, and the Democrats vowed put her and the DHS under the microscope next year (via NBC News):
In one particularly heated exchange, Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois called the DHS chief a liar after she defended the administration policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
"It is as if you can’t see the reality of modern immigration or contributions of anyone who came from countries other than Norway or other parts of Europe. It’s as if you and the Trump administration are blind," he said. "Shame on everybody that separates children and allows them to stay at the other side of the border fearing death, fearing hunger, fearing sickness. Shame on us for wearing our badge of Christianity during Christmas for allowing the secretary to come here and lie."
Nielsen has been under intense scrutiny from lawmakers and the public over the past months for enforcing the administration's staunch anti-immigration policies. President Donald Trump has also reportedly expressed displeasure with her job performance.
At the hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, however, Nielsen firmly defended the administration's practices by insisting, as she has in the past, that no such family separation policy existed.
She fired back at Gutierrez calling her a liar, saying, "Only to say that calling me a liar is fighting words. I'm not a liar, we've never had a policy for family separation."
A family separation policy, she said, "would mean that any family that I found at a port of entry I would separate, it would mean that every single family that I found illegally crossing, we would separate. We did none of those."
Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, also had sharp words for Nielsen, saying he will conduct rigorous oversight of DHS when Democrats take control of the House next month.
"As we move into the next Congress, I want to put you and the department on notice. The time for accountability has arrived," he said. "Members of this committee have a responsibility to ask hard questions of any administration to ensure that federal agencies are working in accordance with the law and in the interests of the American people. That job begins today."
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) also brought up the death of Jakelin Caal Maquin:
"Jackie did not have to die. She did not have to die. Jackie did not have to die," Jackson said, questioning why there were not more medical and language services immediately available at the time. "These are human beings!"
Nielsen claimed that Maquin's father did not indicate any health concerns at first, saying CBP revived her twice before they got her to a hospital.
"To put this in perspective, this is exactly why we try to encourage migrants to go a port of entry. Unfortunately, they arrived in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere," she said. "As soon as [the father] indicated there was a health issue, we did what we could do as quickly as possible to get her to medical care ... the men and women of CBP did everything they could do."
Let’s not forget that Democrats have hurled nasty diatribes at Nielsen, with Sen. Booker (D-NJ) saying that she was pretty much a Nazi enabler. So, kudos to Ms. Nielsen for being able to take the heat, dish some back, and continue to enforce federal immigration laws. Oh, and as the Left huffs and puffs over child separation, remember this isn’t a new policy; it was in effect when Obama was president.
Then again, Democrats think that fighting illegal immigration is more of a philosophy than a legitimate, necessary, and critical part of law enforcement.