Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan left an immigration policy conference Monday without speaking after protesters shouted him down. (Oct. 7)
WASHINGTON – Kirstjen Nielsen, President Donald Trump’s former Department of Homeland Security secretary, said Tuesday she left her post after “it became clear that saying no and refusing it to do it myself was not going to be enough” regarding some policies.
But when pressed on whether she regretted signing the memo that resulted in family separations, Nielsen said, “I don’t regret enforcing the law because I took an oath to do that, as did everybody at the Department of Homeland Security.”
“What I regret is that that information flow and coordination to quickly reunite the families was clearly not in place,” she stated during an interview at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit. She added that it’s the reason why “the practice was stopped through an executive order.”
Nielsen, 47, implemented the Trump administration’s controversial family separation policy after being appointed DHS secretary in December 2017 that led to the separation of thousands of families along the Southern border. She resigned in April of this year.
Nielsen’s appearance at the summit sparked contention, and led to some participants dropping out, including singer Brandi Carlile. Carlile tweeted, “I don’t think that human rights violators and merit-based abusers of displaced people should be given a platform to ‘reimagine’ history. Ever.” She described the practice of separating immigrant families as “one of the United States of America’s most merciless acts.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also dropped out of the summit last week, citing a scheduling conflict. However, Slate reported the decision was made after learning Nielsen would be participating.
Earlier this month, President Trump announced that acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan was leaving the administration after six months on the job. McAleenan replaced Nielsen in April.
When questioned if anyone raised concerns that children would be traumatized as a consequence of the policy, Nielsen stated, “not from staff, no.”
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/10/22/kirstjen-nielsen-former-dhs-secretary-said-she-left-post-because-saying-no-wasnt-enough/2450196001/