WASHINGTON — Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, who has become the face of President Trump’s hardline immigration push, resigned on Sunday. Following are reactions from members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii): “I have repeatedly called for Kirstjen Nielsen’s resignation for her lies in service of DonaldTrump’s abhorrent immigration policies, and I welcome her decision today. History will not judge her or the president kindly.
“Sadly, we can expect Donald Trump to nominate a permanent replacement who will also do his bidding as DHS secretary. We must continue to speak out and remain organized and vigilant.
“Kirstjen Nielsen separated children from their parents and put families in cages, but apparently that wasn’t harsh enough for Donald Trump. Apparently, raising concerns or disagreeing with the president is enough to get you fired in this administration.”
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.): “Kirstjen Nielsen’s resignation was long overdue. Under her tenure, children were ripped from their parents’ arms and locked into cages, forced to endure inhumane conditions and to suffer trauma that will endure for the rest of their lives. She repeatedly denied under oath that the administration implemented a family separation policy despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Her leadership failed the department’s mission and hurt morale among her employees.
“As a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, let’s be absolutely clear: I will not support a nominee who does not forcefully and unequivocally denounce this administration’s policy of separating families at the border. The next secretary of the Department of Homeland Security must be committed to reuniting families and protecting the human rights of those seeking asylum. Cruelty is not a substitute for a smart, lawful, and humane immigration policy. The American people deserve better.”
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.): “Kirstjen Nielsen championed Trump Admin policies that traumatized children and ripped families apart. She was in the room when Trump labeled African nations and Haiti as ‘shitholes.’ Had she opposed any of it, she would’ve resigned long ago. Good riddance.”
Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena): “The separation of families at the border was a moral disaster that did not reduce asylum seekers. That Trump wants to return to this policy shows that he’s more interested in broadcasting bigotry than in actually addressing the root causes of why families are fleeing to the U.S.
“As secretary of DHS, Kirstjen Nielsen is guilty of rolling out — and then lying about — the policy of separating families at the border. It’s good she’s out of government, but she’s just a symptom. Immigrants will not be safe until we get rid of the xenophobia in the Oval Office.”
Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside): “Kirstjen Nielsen implemented Trump’s cruel family separation policy and was complicit in the political fabrication of a fake border crisis. We must demand that the Senate confirm a DHS secretary who will treat immigrants fairly and respect their rights. Nothing less.”
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Manhattan Beach): “I would like to believe Donald Trump fired DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen because she separated toddlers and children from their parents, and also put people in cages. But I fear POTUS fired her because she wasn’t cruel enough.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.): “Secretary Nielsen will go down in history as presiding over an exceptionally cruel regime that separated children from their parents and violated human rights. I welcome her resignation. But, that does not end our quest for accountability for the abuses that occurred on her watch and at the direction of this president.
“I hope the next secretary uses this opportunity to reset the department’s approach and lead with humane, common-sense immigration policies that are based on American values instead of hate.”