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Shaheen says homeland security secretary needs to fix border children problem or quit

Staff Report
June 23. 2018 2:05AM
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

WASHINGTON — New Hampshire’s senior senator called for the resignation of the nation’s homeland security secretary if she fails to quickly produce a plan to reunite children separated from their parents at the southern border.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen had carried out President Trump’s executive order until Trump reversed himself following bipartisan pressure Wednesday.

“President Trump’s policy of separating families at the border is deeply immoral and has created an ongoing crisis as thousands of children remain scattered across the country, indefinitely separated from their parents,” Shaheen said in a statement Friday. “It’s unconscionable that this policy was carried out without any plans or procedures in place to eventually reunite these families. Secretary Nielsen is responsible for this callous implementation and if she cannot promptly produce a plan to reunite every child with his or her parents, she should resign.”

Shaheen serves on the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committee. She also is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee working group that produces federal budgets for the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation and all agencies dealing with science and commerce.

The two-term Democrat was a harsh critic of Trump’s executive order charging him with using the policy to try and force Congress to adopt immigration reform to his liking to include financing of a border wall.

“I remain deeply troubled by President Trump’s attempt to use children as hostages in order to gain leverage with Congress on his agenda,” Shaheen said.

“I continue to work across the aisle to strengthen our border and fix our broken immigration system. Rather than resorting to grossly inhumane policies, President Trump should finally work with Congress to pass bipartisan immigration reform.”

Protesters played the sounds of crying Mexican children outside Nielsen’s home Friday morning. She’s denied Trump used these children as pawns in the immigration debate.

Trump praised Nielsen earlier this week for doing a “fabulous job” promoting better security at the border.

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