By Kamala D. Harris
The government should be in the business of keeping families together, not tearing them apart. And the government should have a commitment to transparency and accountability. Under Secretary Nielsen’s tenure, the Department of Homeland Security has a track record of neither. As a result, she must resign.
During her time as the manager of the government’s third largest agency, the Department has implemented a policy that has separated thousands of children from their families, issued a directive to make it easier to detain pregnant women, tried to use DACA recipients as leverage to achieve the President’s anti-immigrant agenda, failed to address some of the agency’s most pressing management challenges and overseen the continued failed response to tragedy in Puerto Rico.
We must speak the truth. There is no law that says the Administration has to rip children from their families.
As a member of the Homeland Security Committee of the United States Senate for the last 18 months, which has oversight of the Department of Homeland Security, I have asked Secretary Nielsen and other DHS officials to clarify each of these policies, because the American people deserve to know the truth. I have, since March of 2017, repeatedly asked for complete data on the number of children separated and what training and protocol exists for carrying out such separations. In response, the leadership of this department has routinely failed to provide complete answers to questions from me and my colleagues.
The Department’s lack of transparency under Secretary Nielsen’s leadership combined with her record of misleading statements including yesterday’s [June 17] denial that the Administration even had a policy of separating children at the border, are disqualifying. We must speak the truth. There is no law that says the Administration has to rip children from their families. This Administration can and must reverse course now and it can and must find new leadership for the Department of Homeland Security.
Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.