Homeland security secy Kirstjen Neilsen heads out for a meal to a MEXICAN restaurant, and it all kicks-off
Protesters from the Metro D.C. chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America chanted slogans like: “If kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace”
US President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy which separates immigrant children from their parents at the border has met with support and protest in the country as well as across the world.
Amid the outrage, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who is responsible for implementing Trump’s efforts to axe immigration, faced the brunt of the unpopular policy, when she was heckled by several protesters at a Mexican resturant near the White House in Washington DC, while she was eating.
The policy demands that every unauthorized individual crossing the US borders, including asylum seekers, be searched, detained and put in jail for further prosecution. In case of families being caught crossing the borders, the children shall be separated and submitted to government care.
A protestor pointed out the irony and hypocrisy of the situation by yelling, “How can you enjoy a Mexican dinner as you’re deporting and imprisoning tens of thousands of people that come here seeking asylum in the United States?”
The protestors from Metro D.C. chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America also demanded an end to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“We call on you to end family separation and abolish ICE,” a protester can be heard as saying. Chants like “Shame!”, “If kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace”, “In a Mexican restaurant, of all places! “The f*****g gall!” and “Kirstjen Nielsen, you’re a villain!” can also be heard in the backdrop.
In the 11-minute long clip, Nielsen can be seen avoiding a confrontation and ignoring the protesters.
The protestors also played an audio track of Central American children crying after being forced away from their parents. “How does that make you feel?” a demonstrator asked. “Do you hear the babies crying?”
This too did not prompt a reaction from Nielsen, who continued to look down at her food. A small wall of agents carefully escorted Nielsen away from the protestors.
Though she did not address the protestors personally, she did defend the administration’s policy in a speech on Monday. She said: “We will not apologize for the job we do, or for the job law enforcement does, for doing the job that the American people expect us to do.” In addition, she claimed that she did not hear any audio recording of children crying out “Mami!” and “Papá.”
Reportedly, some Democratic lawmakers voiced their disapproval for the security secretary and have called for her to resign.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has reported that more that 2,000 children have been separated from their parents under the new 'zero tolerance' policy between May 5 and June 9.
Over the weekend, images of these children in detention centers surfaced. The centers consist of several metal cages that each shelter 20 children. Each cage is also equipped with a few bottles of water, bags of chips and foil sheets that serve as blankets.
Last week, a picture clicked by New York-based photojournalist John Moore featuring a two-year-old Honduran child standing next to her mother and crying due to separation anxiety went viral.
Moore captured the moment while the child and her family were being searched and detained at the Texas border.