Freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on social media Tuesday.
Nielsen’s resignation Sunday prompted a raft of critical articles from outlets including The New York Times, The Guardian and New York Magazine about her stint in the role. During her tenure, Nielsen enacted President Donald Trump’s controversial “zero tolerance” immigration policy that saw thousands of migrant children separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Ocasio-Cortez criticized Nielsen in response to a tweet about a Times opinion piece called “Cancel Kirstjen Nielsen,” that encouraged potential employers to treat the ex-Trump staffer as a “pariah.”
The congresswoman tweeted: “In stealing 1000s of children, deporting their parents, & refusing to provide info for reunification, Sec. Nielsen oversaw one of the largest-scale human rights violations in recent history. Awarding her a lucrative deal or prestigious post is to legitimize + celebrate that abuse.”
In stealing 1000s of children, deporting their parents,& refusing to provide info for reunification, Sec. Nielsen oversaw one of the largest-scale human rights violations in recent history.
Awarding her a lucrative deal or prestigious post is to legitimize+celebrate that abuse. https://t.co/f2cgDXI48B
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) 9 April 2019
Ocasio-Cortez is a fierce critic of the DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, which carried out the “zero tolerance” policy. In June 2018, she joined a June 2018 protest in Tornillo, Texas: a border town that became known for a temporary “tent city” that housed thousands of child migrants at its peak. Appearing on CNN that same month, she called certain ICE detention centers “black sites,” and called for their closure.
Ocasio-Cortez was the sole House Democrat to vote against a bill that sought to reopen a partially shuttered government back in January. She refused to back the bill because it contained funding for ICE.
“Most of our votes are pretty straightforward, but today was a tough/nuanced call,” she wrote in an Instagram story, per The Hill. “We didn’t vote with the party because one of the spending bills included ICE funding, and our community felt strongly about not funding that.”
Trump tweeted Sunday that U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, Kevin McAleenan will step in as acting DHS secretary in Nielsen’s place. The move was a surprise to many who expected the temporary role to pass to the department’s acting deputy secretary and undersecretary for management, Claire Grady. Democratic Mississippi Representative Bennie Thompson, for example, questioned the legality of the move in a letter addressed to the president.