News & Politics

Two Dozen Moms Stage Walkout During DHS Secretary's Testimony to Protest Planned Separation of Migrant Families

They exited the room holding their children.

Photo Credit: D.J. Jordan

Two dozen mothers from women’s and immigrant rights groups demonstrated as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was about to testify in front of a Senate subcommittee Tuesday, walking out of the room as they carried their children in their arms. The mothers were decrying the administration’s cruel, sadistic and racist plan to tear children from their immigrant parents’ arms for crossing the U.S./Mexico border:

“Our government, the United States of America, is separating families who are coming to our borders seeking protection, and when I say that I mean literally ripping children out of their parents' arms because they’ve come here asking for help,” Michelle Brané, director of the migrant rights and justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission, said in remarks before the hearing.

“To be punishing these parents for wanting to do that and punishing these children who have no say in the matter is outrageous to me,” she told NBC News Tuesday afternoon.

"If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law," Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III said in officially announcing this barbarism. "If you don't like that, then don't smuggle children over our border." Sessions warned that these kids will be treated as unaccompanied minors and placed in detention or with sponsors, but according to the Health and Human Services (HHS), the government has lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant kids after placing them with sponsors. This is child abuse, and carried out with our tax dollars.

In the past, Nielsen had claimed there is no policy on separating parents and their kids, but according to data examined by the New York Times and eventually confirmed by DHS, the government has taken more than 700 kids since October. “We attended the hearing with our little ones, and then in order to protest the family separation policy walked out when Secretary Nielsen began speaking,” said National Immigrant Justice Center’s Heidi Altman. “This feels like it’s not normal business as usual. It’s a policy that’s really so cruel and so harmful in its immediate impact that it felt like it called for an unusual response.”


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