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As she tried to dine at a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielson was forced to leave by protesters shouting “shame” and decrying her enforcement of immigrant family separation policies.
A Facebook video posted by the Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America showed the protest in action at MXDC Cocina Mexicana.
We’re in downtown DC disrupting DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s dinner at MXDC. The irony isn’t lost on us that this is a Mexican restaurant. Nielsen has led the program to tear apart familes. We are here to tell her to put an end to separating families, to step down as head of the department, and that ICE and CBP must be abolished #abolishICE #abolishCBPPosted by Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America on Tuesday, June 19, 2018
“We’re in downtown DC disrupting DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s dinner at MXDC,” the organization wrote on Facebook. “The irony isn’t lost on us that this is a Mexican restaurant. Nielsen has led the program to tell her to put an end to separating families, to step down as head of the department, and that ICE and CBP must be abolished #abolishICE #abolishCBP.”
Between chants of “no borders, no wall, sanctuary for all,” protesters played audio of children who had been recently separated from their parents at the border, which Nielson denied having heard on Monday. Protesters also booed, yelled “shame” at the official, and demanded the dismantling of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Huffington Post reporter Paul Blumenthal tweeted the protest eventually forced Nielson to leave the restaurant.
Nielson on Monday defended the DHS, saying the Trump administration is following the law and not using children as “pawns” in its enforcement of “zero tolerance” immigration policies. Pictures of children in metal cages at detention centers and stories of families being separated at the border have prompted nationwide criticism of the administration’s treatment of immigrants.
“This entire crisis is not new,” Neilsen told the White House press corps on Monday. “It is the exclusive product of loopholes in our law that prevent illegal immigrant minors and family members from being detained and removed to their home countries.”
Kris Seavers is the IRL editor for the Daily Dot. Her work has appeared in Central Texas publications, including Austin Monthly and San Antonio Magazine, and on NPR.