California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris attempted to grill Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen over the policy of separating illegal aliens from their children when they are caught entering the country together.
Harris opposes the policy, in which illegal alien adults are detained and children are placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services while the adult’s case is adjudicated.
“I’m extremely concerned about the administration’s repeated attacks on some of the most vulnerable communities, and in particular, children and pregnant women as it relates to the world of DHS,” Harris said of illegal aliens at the start of her opening statement during a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Tuesday.
Nielsen denied that she had been asked to separate illegal alien parents from their children as a method of deterrence.
“My decision has been that anyone who breaks the law will be prosecuted,” she said. “If you’re a parent or you’re a single person or you happen to have a family, if you cross between the ports of entry, we will refer you for prosecution. You’ve broken U.S. law.”
Harris was very concerned with the policy of detaining parents, causing separation from their children. Nielsen then reminded her that U.S. citizen parents are separated every day in the United States when those parents are arrested or sentenced to prison.
When an illegal alien is arrested crossing the border with a child, Harris said she worries “they will be separated from their parent.”
Nielsen responded, “Just as we do in the United States every day.”