Memo: DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Lied About Family Separations

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

When the Trump regime first began separating immigrant children from their families at the southern border, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen gaslit the nation by saying the Trump regime had no such policy.

"We do not have a policy of separating families at the border," Nielsen said.

According to documents obtained by Open the Government through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), they did have an explicit policy for separating families at the border and Nielsen personally signed it.

The memo states that DHS could “permissibly direct the separation of parents or legal guardians and minors held in immigration detention so that the parent or legal guardian can be prosecuted.” It outlines three options for implementing “zero tolerance,” the policy of increased prosecution of immigration violations. Of these, it recommends “Option 3,” referring for prosecution all adults crossing the border without authorization, “including those presenting with a family unit,” as the “most effective.”

The last page of the memo contains a signature approving Option 3, but the signature—almost certainly Nielsen’s, given that the memo is addressed to her—was blacked out by FOIA officers on privacy grounds. FOIA officials also appear to have redacted the date of the signature indicating approval.

The existence of a separation policy and her decision to sign off on it is not the only thing Nielsen lied about.

You may recall that Nielsen and other Trump regime officials said they were simply following the law when they were asked if they were separating families to deter others from crossing the border. This memo tells us Nielsen signed off on "Option 3" which states that separating families will be the "most effective" deterrent.

It wasn't an effective deterrent, but they clearly thought it would be. That's the whole reason Nielsen signed off on it.

In a normal administration, this would be grounds for resigning.

  • muselet

    In a normal administration, the option of deliberately traumatizing children would not have been considered, and anyone suggesting it would have been fired.

    This administration is full to the brim with soulless bastards.


    • Tony Lavely

      There you go, denigrating soulless bastards.

  • We are so through the looking glass that this won’t even be a blip on anyone’s radar except Human Rights organizations and political junkies like ourselves.

    • Badgerite

      Do you have to be a political junkie to believe its wrong to literally cage children?

      • No, but I guess you do you have to be a liberal or sane Republican (I believe there’s a handful of them left these days).