Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen responded to a reporter’s allegations Monday that her department was engaging in child abuse by separating children from their families.
CNN’s Jeff Zeleny brought up the administration’s immigration policy during a White House press briefing, asking, “How is this not specifically child abuse when these innocent children who are indeed being separated from their parents?”
“I want to be clear on a couple other things. The vast, vast majority of children who are in the care of HHS right now, 10,000 of the 12,000, were sent here alone by their parents,” Nielsen explained. “That’s when they were separated. So somehow we’ve conflated everything but there’s two separate issues.”
“10,000 of those currently in custody were sent by their parents with strangers to undertake a completely dangerous and deadly travel alone. We now care for them,” she continued. “We have high standards. We give them meals. We give them education. We give them medical care. There’s videos. There’s TVs. I’ve been visited the detention centers myself. That would be my answer to that question.”
Zeleny asked if the other 2,000 children were victims of abuse, and Nielsen shot back that she doesn’t deal in “hearsay.”