Trump administration

Ex-DHS Chief Claims ‘There Was No Policy to Separate Families,' Despite Presiding Over It

Kirstjen Nielsen blamed the separations on the Zero Tolerance prosecution policy

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: United States Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Kirstjen Nielsen, center, administers the oath of citizenship to five people as U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Vice President Mike Pence, right look on during a naturalization ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on Saturday, January 19, 2019.
Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images

Kirstjen Nielsen, who presided over the Trump administration’s separation of thousands of migrant children from their parents as secretary of Homeland Security, claimed that a family separation policy did not exist.

“The truth is, there was no policy to separate families,” Nielsen told Anthony Scaramucci, another former Trump official, who had asked her to comment on the policy in a conversation streamed live as part of the SALT Conference.

Nielsen blamed the separations on the Zero Tolerance prosecution policy, publicly announced by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in May 2018, a program designed to prosecute anyone who entered the United States illegally, including between ports of entry on the southwest border.

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