Texas representative calls on DHS Secretary Nielsen to resign: 'Her incompetence is hurting this country'

Texas representative calls on DHS Secretary Nielsen to resign: 'Her incompetence is hurting this country'
Official DHS photo by Jetta Disco.

Texas U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar has called on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to resign, saying during an interview with MSNBC’s Ali Velshi on Thursday that “her incompetence is hurting the community, hurting this country.”

Escobar called for the resignation as the Trump administration has complained about a rising number of children and families at the border. But as the border-area representative stated, officials should have already been prepared. "We have been sounding the alarm for months and months now that we were going to see increasing numbers of families and asylum seekers as the weather warms up,” she said. “Per the agency's own records, when the weather warms up, that is their peak period. We've all known this was coming."

As Escobar notes, you’d think that one of the “best-resourced agencies in all of the federal government” would be capable of handling these families humanely and fairly. Nope. Instead, we’ve gotten barbaric images of people caged like animals under a bridge by federal immigration officials in El Paso, Texas. The cruelty is intentional: It’s horrific propaganda to shore up anti-immigrant policies and sentiment, and it’s happening under Nielsen’s watch.

“We have 1,200 asylum seekers who are being caged off,” Escobar said. “Half of those people are children. They are sleeping on the dirt. They are are sleeping out in the open. This is absolutely inhumane and unacceptable, and it is up to the Department of Homeland Security to come up with a better solution,” such as those suggested by immigrant rights advocates.

Nielsen has long been complicit in helping Trump drum up hysteria at the border, but her own actions have long merited, at the very least, her resignation. Nielsen has lied under oath to Congress, she has continued to insist there’s no family separation policy, and she has shown no remorse or regret for the deaths of two migrant children in federal immigration custody last December.

The fact is that the administration’s deterrence-only, wall-only, deportation-only response to vulnerable families has been a failure, and work that Nielsen should be handling with her department’s huge budget and personnel has instead been left to local, overburdened private agencies. “The community is having to come up with the resources and solutions that she is unwilling to or unable to come up with,” Escobar said. “That is unacceptable, Ali.”

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