Stephen Miller Brushed Off DHS Concerns About Losing Track of Children, Forced WH Cabinet Vote That Led to Family Separation Policy: NBC
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller forced a vote among Trump cabinet officials in May 2018 to push for the administration’s highly controversial family separation policy, overruling concerns from then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen that the agency could lose track of children removed from their parents.
The previously unknown meeting was part of an exclusive NBC News story from Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff, who discussed their reporting with MSNBC Ayman Mohyeldin on Thursday afternoon. According to the pair, Miller, a die-hard nativist who has long attacked immigration, convened a meeting in the White House Situation Room with nearly a dozen high-ranking administration officials with the express intent to have the Department of Homeland Security begin enforcing its zero-tolerance immigration policy.
“There were 11 officials invited to the meeting. They were allowed to bring deputies. Stephen Miller got angry and pointed his frustration towards Kirstjen Nielsen, ” Ainsley explained. “He said it’s your fault that the policy hasn’t been carried out. He said the Justice Department stood ready to prosecute. DHS needed to do the separating so that any immigrants with children would be separated. Nielsen said there was not enough resources to do this and it would result in separation and possibly losing children in this chaotic and clogged system. Miller said forget that. Forget logistics. Let’s put this to a vote. A sea of hands went up. Nielsen’s was not among them. She was out-voted.”
Soon after that meeting, Nielsen signed a memo that authorized the family separation policy, which ultimately removed 2,800 children from the custody of their parents—and soon had myriad problems keeping track of where they were detained, just as Nielsen had predicted.
“We know what happened,” Soborofff added. “Physicians for Human Rights, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization said the U.S. Government and the Trump administration engaged in a campaign of torture of these children. The American Academy of Pediatrics said it was government sanctioned child abuse.”
“[then Attorney General] Jeff Sessions, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, [then National Security Advisor] John Bolton: We’re talking about some of the top leaders in the Trump administration invited to participate in the meeting where it came down to a show of hands vote. A sea of hands went up.”
Watch the video above, via MSNBC.
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