DHS Head Kirstjen Nielsen on Backlash to Child Migrant Policy: ‘Don’t Believe the Press’

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen looked to discredit the press in a speech to the National Sheriffs’ Association in New Orleans, LA on Monday — saying that illegal immigrant children detained after crossing the border are treated well.

“Don’t believe the press,” she said bluntly. “We operate according to some of the highest standards in the country. We provide food, medical, education, and all needs that the child requests.”

In the six weeks since Attorney General Jeff Sessions instated a “zero tolerance” policy of illegal immigration, 2000 immigrant children have been separated from their families, many of whom are being held in cages.

“Let’s be honest, there’s some who would like to us look the other way when dealing with families at the border and not enforce the law passed by Congress, including, unfortunately, some members of Congress,” she continued. “Past administrations may have done so, but we will not. We do not have the luxury of pretending that all individuals coming to this country as a family unit are, in fact, a family. We have to do our job. We will not apologize for doing our job. We have sworn to do this job.”

Contrary to what Nielsen would have the public believe, there is no law that requires parents and children be separated at the border.

“This administration has a simple message,” Nielsen explained. “If you cross the border illegally, we will prosecute you. If you make a false immigration claim, we will prosecute you. If you smuggle illegal aliens across an extraordinarily dangerous journey, we will prosecute you.”

“But I have also made clear you do not need to break the law of this country by entering illegally to claim asylum,” she added. “If you are seeking asylum, go to a port of entry.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Defends His Family Separation Policy, Blames Democrats: ‘The US Will Not Be a Migrant Camp’

President Donald Trump turned a White House meeting with the National Space Council into a presser on his administration’s migrant children controversy on Monday. The president continued to falsely blame Democrats for the policy that separates kids from their parents and declared that the US will not become “a migrant camp.”

“Immigration is the fault and all of the problem we are having because we can not get them to sign legislation, we cannot even get them to negotiate to the table. And I say this very strongly: it’s the democrats fault,” Trump said. “The U.S. will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility, it wont be.”

He went on to claim that if the left side of the aisle would “sit down instead of obstructing, we could have something done very quickly” about the migrant situation.

Trump continued discussing the child migrant separation policy by saying: “We’re stuck with these horrible laws. What’s happening is so sad. And it can be taken care of quickly beautifully and we’ll have safety.”

[Mediaite]

Media

White House aide rages at ‘disgraceful’ Democrats for being upset about ripping apart families

The White House director of strategic communications went on Fox News on Monday to lash out at Democrats for criticizing the administration’s policy of separating families at the southern border and detaining children.

Mercedes Schlapp repeatedly claimed the administration’s “hands are tied” despite the fact the policy was voluntarily adopted and could end with a single phone call from President Donald Trump.

“What does the president want us to know this morning as this debate rages on and seems to be putting a lot of pressure on Republicans?” host Sandra Smith asked.

“Clearly, the president is fully committed to enforcing the law,” Schlapp replied. “This comes also with ensuring that the Democrats come to the negotiating table with immigration.”

“It is because the Democrats want to play politics with this issue, using children as political pawns, that we are not able to solve this problem,” Schlapp claimed.

Despite the fact that Trump started the family separation policy and could end it today, Schlapp admitted that the children were being used as leverage to try and get United States taxpayers to pay for Trump’s border wall, that he repeatedly promised would be paid for by Mexico.

“The president has made it very clear he wants to see full funding for the wall,” Schlapp admitted.

“Does the president feel like Democrats are controlling the message right now?” Smith asked the senior White House communications advisor.

“The Democrats are using this as an emotional issue, as a political issue into the midterm election,” Schlapp claimed. “That is disgraceful.”

[Raw Story]

Media

Trump says he ‘hates’ family separations at border

President Donald Trump on Friday condemned the practice of separating children from their parents at the border and reiterated an incorrect assertion that the Democrats are to blame for the practice.

“I hate the children being taken away. The Democrats have to change their law. That’s their law,” Trump said to a group of reporters on the White House lawn in an impromptu appearance on “Fox and Friends“ Friday morning.

The “zero tolerance” approach to immigration that the Trump administration adopted resulted in the controversial policy of border agents separating families. But Trump insisted that the ball is in the Democrats’ court.

“The Democrats gave us the laws. Now, I want the laws to be beautiful, humane, but strong. I don’t want bad people coming in,” Trump said. “We can solve that problem in one meeting. Tell the Democrats and your friends to call me.”

House Republicans on Thursday released a bill intended to keep migrant children with their families if they are detained. Immigration-rights advocates, however, have criticized the proposal for “prolonging detention and hastening deportation” because it allows children to be held in detention centers with their parents.

Thursday night, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also pushed forward the administration’s message that Democrats are responsible for the separation of families in a tense exchange with White House reporters.

“Illegal alien families is the product of the same legal loopholes that Democrats refuse to close. And these laws are the same that have been on the books for over a decade,” she said.

[Politico]

Trump threatened to send 25 million Mexicans to Japan

Donald Trump threatened Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe he would ship 25 million Mexicans to his country, one of a series of bizarre missives that jarred fellow leaders at last week’s acrimonious G7 meet, according to a report on Friday.

The Group of Seven summit gathering of top industrialized democracies finished in disarray after the US president abruptly rejected its consensus statement and bitterly attacked Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Behind the scenes, Trump’s counterparts were dismayed by verbal jabs on topics ranging from trade to terrorism and migration, The Wall Street Journal said, quoting European officials who were present.

At one point he described migration as a big problem for Europe then said to Abe: “Shinzo, you don’t have this problem, but I can send you 25 million Mexicans and you’ll be out of office very soon,” creating a sense of irritation in the room, according to an EU official.

The source added that when the topic turned to Iran and terrorism, Trump took aim at French President Emmanuel Macron, saying: “You must know about this, Emmanuel, because all the terrorists are in Paris.”

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also came under fire and was repeatedly described by Trump as a “brutal killer” in reference to the bloc’s antitrust and tax fines against US tech companies that have run into billions of dollars.

Bitter differences over trade dominated the summit hosted by Canada, with leaders of the world’s largest economies lining up against Trump’s threats to impose stiff tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

After rejecting the joint statement, Trump and his top aides assailed Trudeau, accusing him of dishonesty and betrayal.

Trump on Friday rejected reports of discord, blaming the “Fake News Media” on Twitter for portraying a false picture while posting several photos of himself appearing to get along well with fellow G7 leaders.

[Yahoo]

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director to speak at hate group event

ICE deputy director Thomas Homan will be at the National Press Club on Tuesday morning to participate in an event hosted by the anti-immigrant hate group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

Homan’s participation comes just days after news that President Trump tapped a CIS fellow, Ronald Mortensen, to serve as assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

Unfortunately, Homan will be lending further credibility to a group that for over three decades has published a litany of reports and blog posts demonizing immigrants and blaming them for virtually all of the United States’ ills. Founded by white nationalist John Tanton, CIS has also circulated white nationalist content thousands of times.

Last year, former CIS staffer Jon Feere was appointed to serve as Homan’s special adviser and Homan himself has made a number of hardline, anti-immigrant statements. In June 2017, Homan sounded a warning to undocumented immigrants: “If you’re in this country illegally… you should be uncomfortable. You should look over your shoulder, and you need to be worried.”

Homan, like Trump and the broader anti-immigrant movement, has made attacking so-called sanctuary cities a priority. In January 2018, Homan threatened elected officials in these jurisdictions, telling Fox News, “We gotta take [sanctuary cities] to court and we gotta start charging some of these politicians with crimes.” In April, Homan announced that he will resign this summer. His resignation comes at a time when ICE is under major scrutiny for militaristic worksite raidsand separating migrant parents from their children.

The Trump administration’s entire immigration policy regime has pulled directly from the anti-immigrant movement, including populating it with personnel from groups like CIS and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Homan’s appearance on Tuesday further cements that relationship.

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/06/04/us-immigration-and-customs-enforcement-acting-director-speak-hate-group-event-tomorrow#.WxVs39Y9Qig.twitter

Trump Smears Pelosi As ‘MS-13 Lover’: ‘She Loves MS-13’

President Donald Trump smeared House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as an “MS-13 lover” while speaking to a rowdy crowd in Nashville, Tennessee tonight.

Trump dropped the new nickname after knocking Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen as “an absolute tool of Chuck Schumer” in attempt to hype up Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is looking to take Senator Bob Corker‘s Tennessee seat.

“He’s a tool of Chuck Schumer,” Trump said of Bredesen, a former Tennessee governor. “Of course, the MS-13 lover Nancy Pelosi.”

He continued the smear:

“She loves MS-13. Can you imagine? Remember? I said they’re animals and she said ‘How dare you say that, how dare you say that.’ Have you seen what they’ve done? Have you seen what they’re doing to us? And we’re taking them out of our country by the thousands. Out. Out. By the thousands. Chuck and Nancy. They don’t want the wall. They want open borders. They are more interested in taking care of criminals than they are in taking care of you.”

While the audience responded by wildly cheering, this was not original content for Trump, who claimed that “Nancy Pelosi came out in favor of MS-13″ while speaking at an anti-abortion event this month.”

However, both of Trump’s claims tying Pelosi to the gang are false, as a report from the fact-checking service Politifact found that the top House Democrat simply said “calling people animals is not a good thing” and did not mention the gang. While Trump supporters and right-wing media pundits claim this was a defense of MS-13, since Trump’s infamous “animals” comment was directed at the gang, others have suggested that Republicans are simply using MS-13 to paint Hispanic immigrants as subhuman.

These concerns seem to have been proven correct, as a recent reporton ICE from Slate shows how the federal agency designed to target undocumented immigrants lied about ties to MS-13 in an attempt to deport a Dreamer.

[Medaite]

Reality

Want to know how bad Donald Trump’s immigration policies are? Last week he lied to a Nashville, Tennessee crowd and claimed Nancy Pelosi was an “MS-13 lover.”

Rather than having an intellectual debate on the merits of his ideas, he lies to his base.

Pelosi simply said “calling people animals is not a good thing” and did not mention the gang.

Context is needed here because Republicans across the country are simply using MS-13 to paint all Hispanic immigrants as subhuman.

For example, here is failed Virginia GOP candidate Ed Gillespie’s ad, tying all Hispanic immigrants to MS-13.

Media

Trump blames Democrats for separating migrant families at the border

President Trump on Saturday called for an end to his administration’s policy of separating immigrant families at the border for legal prosecution, blaming Democrats for inaction on immigration policy.

“Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there parents once they cross the Border into the U.S. Catch and Release, Lottery and Chain must also go with it and we MUST continue building the WALL! DEMOCRATS ARE PROTECTING MS-13 THUGS,” Trump tweeted.

A Trump administration policy announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this month mandates the prosecution of adults separately from children when families arrive at the U.S. border seeking asylum. “If you cross the border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple,” Sessions said. “If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you. And that child may be separated from you, as required by law.”

Trump has blamed Democrats for the policy, and accuses them of desiring “open borders” that would allow criminals, such as members of the gang MS-13, into the country.

[The Hill]

The feds lost — yes, lost — 1,475 migrant children

The Trump administration recently announced a new, get-tough policy that will separate parents from their children if the family is caught crossing the border illegally.

It was a big news story. So big it overshadowed the fact that the federal government has lost — yes, lost — 1,475 migrant children in its custody.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told Congress that within 48 hours of being taken into custody the children are transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services, which finds places for them to stay.

“They will be separated from their parent,” said Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

“Just like we do in the United States every day,” Nielsen replied.

Except that the states, unlike the federal government, have systems in place to better screen the people who become guardians of the children and much better ways to keep track of those children.

And not lose them.

That is what happened to 1,475 minors swept up at the border and taken into custody by the federal government.

Gone.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement reported at the end of 2017 that of the 7,000-plus children placed with sponsored individuals, the agency did not know where 1,475 of them were.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said, “It’s just a system that has so many gaps, so many opportunities for these children to fall between the cracks, that we just don’t know what’s going on — how much trafficking or abuse or simply immigration law violations are occurring.”

A documentary from the PBS program Frontline said that the federal government has actually released some of the minors to human traffickers.

Imagine that.

And now we want to dramatically ramp up the number of children who are removed from their parents?

When pressed about safety concerns Secretary Nielsen said, “I just want to say, I couldn’t agree with your concerns more, period. We owe more to these children to protect them. So I’m saying I agree, we’ve taken steps and we will continue to strengthen what our partners do to protect these children.”

There are 1,475 reasons not to be reassured by the secretary’s promise.

If anything, it would have been better to have a policy in place, with protections, and safe places to stay, and safe people to stay with, and personnel on the government payroll to check-up on them before the administration’s new policy was implemented.

Secretary Nielsen said, “My decision has been that anyone who breaks the law will be prosecuted. If you are parent, or you’re a single person or if you happen to have a family, if you cross between the ports of entry we will refer you for prosecution. You have broken U.S. law.”

We all get that. And we all want a secure border. But we don’t want to trade in our humanity in the process.

As Sen. Portman told Frontline, “We’ve got these kids. They’re here. They’re living on our soil. And for us to just, you know, assume someone else is going to take care of them and throw them to the wolves, which is what HHS was doing, is flat-out wrong. I don’t care what you think about immigration policy, it’s wrong.”

He’s right.

[USA Today]

Trump on Abused Immigrant Children: “They’re Not Innocent”

In April of 2017, when Donald Trump ordered his first missile strike in Syria, the president said that he was moved by the images of children killed in suspected chemical attacks. It was a rare moment of Trump being moved by compassion, and it hasn’t been replicated.

Now the Trump administration, and John Kelly in particular, have been criticized for its decision to break up families crossing the border illegally, and for their careless planning about what to do with those children one they’re shoved into detention centers on military bases. But Trump is doubling down, claiming that those children are nothing more than criminals in the future. Per the Washington Post:

Immigrant advocates have long said that the children, primarily from Central America, are fleeing violence in their home countries and seeking safe harbor in the United States. But the Trump administration has used their plight to justify cracking down on policies that allow these migrants to be released and obtain hearings before immigration judges, rather than being deported immediately.

“We have the worst immigration laws of any country, anywhere in the world,” Trump said at the roundtable held at the Morrelly Homeland Security Center. “They exploited the loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors.”

Trump added:

“They look so innocent. They’re not innocent.”

Trump’s not alone in thinking that. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein claimed that the gang activity that happened during his tenure U.S. attorney for Maryland was fueled by undocumented children. According to Rosenstein, those children roam the streets like Oliver Twist until they’re absorbed into criminal organizations. “We’re letting people in who are creating problems. We’re letting people in who are gang members. We’re also letting people in who are vulnerable.”

First and foremost, this is Minority Report nonsense. The argument that we have to treat as criminals anyone who might be a criminal is the logic of a full-on police state. It’s also maddening that Rosenstein would claim that it’s immigrants who are creating problems when, broadly speaking, they’re fleeing violence, economic instability, and political corruption that the U.S. exported in the first place. But what’s most infuriating is that he would use the vulnerability of children and families as a cudgel against them, essentially arguing that they need help too badly to be allowed in the country.

On the same day that Trump and Rosenstein explained why children have to be treated as a national security threat, the ACLU released a report detailing a long history of child abuse at detention centers for immigrants. According to 30,000 pages of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the ACLU alleges that Customs and Border Patrolofficials are responsible for sexual abuse, physical assault, and denial of medical care, clean water and food. A small sample of the abuses committed by officials includes:

Denied detained children permission to stand or move freely for days and threatened children who stood up with transfer to solitary confinement in a small, freezing room

Denied a pregnant minor medical attention when she reported pain, which preceded a stillbirth

Subjected a 16-year-old girl to a search in which they “forcefully spread her legs and touched her private parts so hard that she screamed”

Left a 4-pound premature baby and her minor mother in an overcrowded and dirty cell full of sick people, against medical advice

Threw out a child’s birth certificate and threatened him with sexual abuse by an adult male detainee.

Officials have denied the allegations, calling them “unfounded and baseless.” All of these reports pre-dated the Trump administration, and there’s no reason to assume that CBP has become more transparent or accountable since then. Besides, this fits nicely into Trump and Kelly’s entire reasoning for the need to imprison children in the first place: subject them to so much cruelty that others won’t try to come to the US at all.

[GQ]

Reality

First, “pre-crime” is something you would find in a sci-fi dystopian nightmare society, such as in Phillip K. Dick’s “Minority Report.”

Finally, Trump regularly falsely conflates “immigrant” with “criminal”, which primes his already xenophobic base to be more suspicious of non-Americans. The reality is immigrants contribute to our society, even illegal ones, and commit crimes at lower rates than native populations.

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