Immigration policy: US Homeland Security secy faces protest at Mexican eatery
Protesters shouted "shame", "shame" in front of US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in a Mexican restaurant in Washington where she went to dine late Tuesday, Jun 19, for defending the Donald Trump administration's policy of separating children from their illegal migrant parents at the southern borders.
Activists from Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America heckled Nielsen at MXDC Cocina Mexicana restaurant where she was surrounded by the staff and security. The organisation said police were called to intimidate the activists but it didn't help.
"How can you enjoy a Mexican dinner as you're deporting, imprisoning tens of thousands of people who come here seeking asylum in the United States?" one activist cried out in a 10-minute video of the incident the group posted on social media, AFP reported.
Nielsen's spokesman Tyler Houlton said in a statement: "The secretary encourages all -- including this group -- who want to see an immigration system that works, that contributes to our economy, that protects our security and that reflects our values to reach out to members of Congress and seek their support to close the terrible immigration loopholes that have made our system a mess," AFP reported.
Nielsen said on Monday, June 18, that the Congress and courts created the mess and only the Congress could fix it.
Meanwhile, facing steep criticism at home and abroad, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, June 20, signed an executive order ending inhuman family separations at the US-Mexico border resulting from his administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy.
Under the new plan, the affected families will be kept together in federal custody while they wait for prosecution for illegal crossing of the border, thereby potentially flouting a1997 court settlement limiting duration of child detentions, the Washington Post reported.
The US president, who had earlier blamed the Democrats for the families' plight at the border, said the borders will continue to be "very strong" but at the same time the families will also be kept together. As he signed the order at the Oval Office, Trump said he didn't like the "sight or the feeling" of families getting alienated.
Videos of children being kept in what seemed like cages and audiotapes of kids crying and wailing sparked a massive furore in the US as well overseas with even the Pope condemning the treatment meted out to the youngsters. At home, besides the current First Lady Melania Trump who expressed concern, four living former first ladies criticised the administration's way of doing things. The clergy and business leaders also took a strong dig at the president for such an inhuman policy.