Department of Homeland Security Secretary (HHS) Kirstjen Nielsen falsely claimed at a Senate hearing that her agency does not “detain” immigrant children, but does “care for them” in facilities where the kids are not allowed to leave.
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California questioned Nielsen about the child detentions:
You testified that you don’t detain children. The [Inspector General] report indicates that [Customs and Border Patrol] — I’m not finished — the IG report indicates that CBP has detained children.
And not only has CBP detained children, they have detained them for longer than is statutorily allowed. How do you reconcile the IG report with your testimony this morning?
Nielsen falsely claimed that her department does not detain children despite overwhelming evidence that it does:
We do not detain children. What we do is, when we apprehend them at a border patrol station, we process them. And as soon as there is room in an HHS facility, we transfer them.
So does the processing involve detention?
Nielson lied again:
It’s not a detention facility!
Do they stay in CPB custody? Do they spend the night there?
We are not able to, under the law, put them anywhere else. So, we will care for them until bed space opens at a detention facility at HHS.
Harris fired back:
In other words, you do detain children.
Nielsen tried to blame the children’s parents for the actions of HHS:
In other words, we do not have enough detention facilities at HHS because 10,000 children were sent here unaccompanied and their parents chose to do that.