The outrage over separation of families of illegal immigrants poured over into the White House briefing room on Monday.
DHS Secretary Nielsen took to the podium to answer questions over the furor. On multiple occasions, Nielsen was asked if the administration was using children as “pawns” and “leverage.”
“Members of Congress on the Democratic side say you are using children as a leverage to try to get them to take legislative action. What do you say?” one reporter asked.
Nielsen responded by calling the Democrats “cowards.” She said, “I say that is a cowardly response. It is clearly within their power to make the laws and change the laws. They should do so.”
American Urban Radio correspondent April Ryan raised a similar question, asking, “Are kids being used as pawns for a wall? Democrats are saying this is your discretion and there is no law that says that this White House should separate parents from children.”
Nielsen answered, “The kids are used as pawns by smugglers and traffickers. Let’s just pause to think about this statistic: 314% increase in adults showing up with kids that are not a family unit. Those are traffickers. Those are smugglers. That is MS-13. They are criminals. They are abusers.” She continued, “All I am trying to say is closing the loophole will enable us to detain families together throughout the proceeding, as they’ve done in previous administrations.” (RELATED: Trump: Where Is The Outrage For Parents Killed By MS-13 Illegals?)
Ryan continued, “Madame Secretary, can you definitively say are the children being used as pawns for a wall, yes or no? Can you say yes or no to that?”
Nielsen said, “They are not being used as pawns. We are trying to protect the children which is why I’m asking Congress to act.”