Hillary Clinton Warned That Kirstjen Nielsen's Resignation Won't Stop The "Cruelty"

by Joseph D. Lyons
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The 2016 Democratic nominee for president has some thoughts on the Homeland Security secretary's departure: that it won't probably change all that much. Responding to Kirstjen Nielsen's departure, Hillary Clinton rebuked the Trump administration's immigration policy, saying the "administration's dehumanization and cruelty toward migrants" won't stop with the leadership shake-up.

Clinton took to Twitter to express her thoughts on the matter on Monday. "Let's be clear: This administration's dehumanization and cruelty toward migrants will not stop after Kirstjen Nielsen leaves office," she wrote. "It is their principal policy."

Saturday marked one year to the day from when former Attorney General Jeff Sessions officially started the family separations with his "zero tolerance" policy. The total number of separated families, though, may never be known because some happened in advance of the official policy and were not recorded, The Guardian reported in January.

The former secretary of state has been vocal on social media and in interviews about her disdain for the administration's immigration policies, particularly family separation, for the past year. "What is happening to families at the border is horrific," Clinton said last June at an event in New York City. "Every human being with a sense of compassion and decency should be outraged."

In November, she focused her Giving Tuesday post on the family separations, and organizations that are working to reunite children with their parents. "Consider giving to support organizations that have spent the last few months working tirelessly to reunite families the administration has separated at the border," Clinton wrote on Twitter. "Over 200 children are still waiting to be reunited with loved ones,” she added."

In February, Clinton tweeted about hunger strikes in immigration detention facilities. "People being held in ICE detention sites are going on hunger strikes to protest conditions," Clinton wrote. "ICE is force-feeding them. None of this should be happening in America."

In March, Clinton focused on building public support for separated parents who were applying for asylum in Mexicali to be reunited with their children that stayed in the United States after they were deported. Clinton suggested that people call Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and members of Congress to pressure CBP to allow the asylum requests.

As for the "cruelty" remaining after Nielsen, Trump made clear what his take on the immigration and asylum system at the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas on Saturday. He called it a "scam" and compared asylum seekers to UFC fighters.

"Some of the roughest people you’ve ever seen, people that look like they should be fighting for the UFC," Trump said. "They read a little page given by lawyers that are all over the place — you know lawyers, they tell them what to say. You look at this guy, you say, wow, 'that’s a tough cookie.'"

On Friday, Trump also said that Ron Vitiello, his choice to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), was being pulled to find someone who would be tougher. "We're going in a little different direction. Ron's a good man but we're going in a tougher direction. We want to go in a tougher direction," Trump told reporters. He made his decision reportedly at the urging of his adviser Stephen Miller.

Clinton may be right. None of that implies a big swing on policy — or rhetoric — following Nielsen's departure.