Just a little earlier today, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen gave a speech at the National Sheriffs’ Association in New Orleans. If anyone thought she was going to buckle under the media generated outrage, they have misjudged Secretary Nielsen’s character. Here are some highlights. This is from National Review:
“We will not apologize for the job we do or for the job law enforcement does, for doing the job that the American people expect us to do,” Nielsen said during her Monday address to National Sheriffs’ Association in New Orleans. “Illegal actions have and must have consequences. No more free passes, no more get-out-of-jail-free cards.”
Nielsen went on to decry inaccurate media portrayals of the Trump administration’s enforcement policy, which requires the detention and prosecution of all individuals caught crossing the border illegally. The policy has resulted in the separation of roughly 2,000 children from their parents, who are in detention awaiting trial.
The separations have been attacked as immoral by congressional Democrats and a handful of Republicans, who advocate a return to the previous policy of releasing individuals awaiting trial for trying to immigrate illegally with their children. But Nielsen placed blame for family separations squarely on lawmakers, citing legislative inaction on immigration reform as the central obstacle to changing the system. She also suggested that previous administrations are partly to blame for incentivizing child trafficking by providing “free passes” to adults who try to cross the border with children.
“From October 2017 to this February, we have seen a staggering 315 percent increase in illegal aliens fraudulently using children to pose as family units to gain entry into this country,” she said. “This must stop. All this does is put the children at risk. To address these issues we’ve asked Congress to change the law to allow for the expeditious return of unaccompanied children, regardless of their country of origin. We are also asking Congress to allow us to keep families together while they are detained.”
The Washington Post:
In a speech at the meeting of National Sheriffs’ Association in New Orleans, Nielsen drew rousing applause when she directed her remarks at “a selected few in the media, Congress and the advocacy community” whom she accused of mischaracterizing the Trump administration’s border crackdown.
“This department will no longer stand by and watch you attack law enforcement for enforcing the laws passed by Congress,” Nielsen said. “We will not apologize for the job we do, or the job law enforcement does, or the job the American people expect us to do.”
— Nick Short (@PoliticalShort) June 18, 2018
"Don't believe the press": Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen says minors separated from parents at the border are "well taken care of" according to "some of the highest standards in the country" https://t.co/METcjhQ4TR pic.twitter.com/SQnONeQHtS
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 18, 2018
— America's Newsroom (@AmericaNewsroom) June 18, 2018
At the same time, President Trump signaled his support for the policy.
"Not on my watch": Amid escalating scrutiny over border policy, Pres. Trump says U.S. "will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility." https://t.co/mvQYZyuXB7 pic.twitter.com/QWAaBx8M5x
— ABC News (@ABC) June 18, 2018
This is shaping up pretty much as one might have expected. The quickest way to get Trump to go to battle stations is to attack him. And the quickest way to get any bureaucracy to dig in is to attack them. For the people opposing the policy this means that now that they’ve called Trump, Homeland Security, Justice, and Health and Humans Services literal Nazis, and after former First Lady Laura Bush compared what is happening to the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II (which the Supreme Court upheld and which is still the law of the land despite it being the silliest possible analogy in this situation), they are now relying on those same agencies and President Trump to go back to catch-and-release. Odds are it probably is not going to happen.
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