It didn’t take long for House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) to celebrate the resignation of Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen — but he placed full blame for the “humanitarian crisis” at the border on President Donald Trump.
“Hampered by misstep after misstep, Kirstjen Nielsen’s tenure at the Department of Homeland Security was a disaster from the start,” Thompson said in a statement issued by the committee Sunday. “It is clearer now than ever that the Trump Administration’s border security and immigration policies — that she enacted and helped craft — have been an abysmal failure and have helped create the humanitarian crisis at the border.”
He accused Nielsen of being “unable to lead and stand up to the president for his misguided, wall obsessed anti-immigrant agenda.”
However, the congressman added: “We cannot allow her to serve as a scapegoat for the situation at the border. Let me be clear, President Trump is to blame for making the situation at the border worse. His terrible and cruel policies have broken families apart and have caused chaos in our immigration system.”
Thompson presided over an acrimonious Homeland Security Committee hearing last month when Nielsen was attacked for allowing the detention of migrant children in cages after they were separated from their parents during Trump’s controversial “zero tolerance” policy. (She also falsely denied such a policy existed.)
Nielsen refused to admit children had been kept in cages, contradicting photos from detention sites. “Sir, we don’t use cages for children,” Nielsen told Thompson. “I’ve seen the cages,” the congressman snapped. “I just want you to admit that the cages exist.”