Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was booed out of a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C. Tuesday after she has spent days defending the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
A group of about a dozen protesters from Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America rushed into MXDC Cocina when they learned that Nielsen was trying to enjoy some Mexican cuisine.
“End family separation,” some protesters chanted. Many chanted “shame!” repeatedly.
“How can you enjoy a Mexican dinner as you’re deporting and imprisoning tens of thousands of people who come here seeking asylum in the United States?” one man shouted at her.
Nielsen did not react to the protesters. Instead, she sat at her table quietly with her head down. Security stood nearby.
"Do you hear the babies crying?" one protester asked her.
"If kids don't eat in peace, you don't eat in peace," the group shouted at her in unison.
“We’re in downtown DC disrupting DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s dinner at MXDC,” the group posted on Facebook, along with a video of the protest. “The irony isn’t lost on us that this is a Mexican restaurant. Nielsen has led the program to tear apart [families.] We are here to tell her to put an end to separating families, to step down as head of the department, and that ICE and CBP must be abolished.”
After about 10 minutes surrounded by protesters, Nielsen left and got into an SUV.
Nielsen has defended the practice of separating parents from children, which has drawn fierce outrage from both sides of the political aisle.
“Here is the bottom line: DHS is no longer ignoring the law,” she said at a Monday press conference. “We’re enforcing the laws as they exist on the books. As long as illegal entry remains a criminal offense, DHS will not look the other way. DHS will faithfully execute the laws enacted by Congress, as we are sworn to do.”
President Donald Trump falsely claims that family separations are "a result of Democrat-supported loopholes in our federal laws.” However, no law or court ruling mandates family separations, according to The Washington Post, and his administration decided to enact the policy.
Since the "zero-tolerance" policy was enacted, 1,995 children were separated from 1,940 adults, during the period of April 19 to May 31, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said Friday, according to NBC News.
DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton tweeted that Nielsen encourages those “who want to see an immigration system that works, contributes to our economy, protects our security, & reflects our values reach out to Members & seek their support to close immigration loopholes that made our system a mess.” The administration has repeatedly and inaccurately blamed Democrats for the new policy.
[Photo: Getty Images]