kirstjen nielsen family separation dhs tweet

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Kristjen Nielsen’s legacy at DHS can be summed up by one tweet

'I want this to follow her until the end.'


Ellen Ioanes


Posted on Apr 8, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 3:22 pm CDT

Kirstjen Nielsen resigned from her post (or was pushed out) as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security after a meeting with President Donald Trump on Sunday night.

According to the New York Times, Nielsen handed in her resignation at the president’s request after a short meeting in which the president asked Nielsen to stop accepting asylum seekers and close ports of entry along the border, which Nielsen reportedly refused to do.

But despite allegedly refusing the president’s aggressive requests, Nielsen still oversaw the Trump administration’s practice of separating migrant children from their families. And Twitter won’t let her forget it, thanks to her own statements on the matter.

“We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period,” Nielsen tweeted in June 2018.

Nielsen blamed the media, members of Congress and advocacy groups for reports of families separated at the border, repeatedly saying there was no official policy separating children from their families at the border.

However, the “zero tolerance” policy of apprehending and arresting adults arriving with children ensured that the families would be separated because children cannot be detained in adult facilities.

It was a tweet that perfectly represented the Trump administration’s tenuous relationship with the truth amidst a draconian change in immigration policy.

New York Times opinion writer Wajahat Ali said of the tweet on Sunday night, “I want this to follow her until the end. Goodbye DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. This is your legacy.”

More than 2,700 children were separated from their families by the zero tolerance policy, the policy Nielsen oversaw as DHS secretary, according to Vox.

The Trump administration is now asking for two years to identify and reunite all the children who have been separated from their parents because of his administration’s immigration policy.


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*First Published: Apr 8, 2019, 12:49 pm CDT