The American Independent

Nielsen: I had no idea ripping kids from their parents would traumatize them

Kirstjen Nielsen

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen shouldn't have needed a study to tell her that it's damaging to rip kids from their parents and throw them in cages.

Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of Trump's Homeland Security, claimed she didn't know it would be traumatizing to separate migrant children from their parents — despite having been briefed on the risks, and despite what common sense should have told her.

Nielsen made the comment Wednesday during an oversight hearing on the Trump administration's family separation policy — which has led to infants and young children being ripped from their parents and held in unsanitary and unsafe detention facilities. Two children under the age of 10 have even died while in U.S. custody.

"The information that I was aware of at the time was that the trauma was part of the journey to come up to the border illegally," Nielsen said in response to a question from freshman Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood, who asked Nielsen whether she was aware of research showing the trauma that could arise from family separations.

However, while Nielsen claimed to be unaware of the research, a number of lower-level Trump administration officials have testified under oath before Congress that they warned other Trump administration officials of the harm family separation could cause to children.

Their warnings fell upon deaf ears.

Ultimately, however, you don't need a study to understand how ripping a child from their parents and putting them in a detention facility would be a traumatizing experience.

And Democrats, who are using their newfound majority status to hold oversight hearings on the damaging Trump administration policy, were not amused by Nielsen's denials — calling the policy "immoral and un-American."

"From what I've heard today, I'm not sure if DHS was so negligent they didn't know how traumatic family separation was for children, or if they knew and did it anyways," Underwood said after her line of questioning.

"But in my opinion, both are unacceptable."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.