Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen appeared before Congress on Thursday, giving Democratic lawmakers the opportunity to voice their opposition and distress at the administration's cruel and disastrous immigration policies.
When Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) has his opportunity to ask questions, he decided to give Nielsen a lecture instead. Pointing out that it was the Christmas season, Guttierez noted that it was "a time in which we celebrate Jesus Christ. A Jesus Christ who had to flee for his life with Mary and Joseph. Thank God there wasn't a wall that kept him from seeking refuge in Egypt."
As he continued, he became more impassioned and outraged at the secretary.
"Shame on everybody who separates children and allows them to stay at the other side of the border, fearing death, fearing hunger, fearing sickness. Shame on us for wearing out badge of Christianity during Christmas and allow the secretary to come here and lie," he said.
"Calling me a liar is fighting words," Nielsen said. "I'm not a liar."
But she continued to repeat a lie, insisting that the administration has never had a "family separation policy." Instead, as she has repeatedly and condescendingly argued, she holds that the administration's policies practice of taking children away from parents was demanded by laws Congress had already passed, not anything the executive branch actively did.
This argument is at best semantic wordplay — more accurately, it's gross deception. As many have pointed out, the administration intentionally and clearly adopted a new policy in the past year of "zero tolerance" that automatically entailed separating families who were accused of crossing the border illegally. Officials, including former DHS Secretary John Kelly and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, made clear that separating families was the point — to create a deterrent effect. Nielsen claimed that the administration didn't have a policy of family separations because it didn't separate every immigrant family — but that's as absurd as claiming that a government doesn't have an education policy because not every child goes to public school.
Frustrated with her deceptive tactics, Gutierrez walked out in the middle of her response.
Watch the clip below:
SECRETARY NIELSEN to @RepGutierrez after he accused her of lying about Trump administration's family separation policy: "Calling me a liar are fighting words. I'm not a liar."
GUTIERREZ gets up and walks away. pic.twitter.com/YCNA0Sn5Zv
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 20, 2018