DHS secretary: Mary and Joseph would have been eligible for asylum

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenRussian interference reports rock Capitol Hill Acting DHS secretary says he expects Russia to attempt to interfere in 2020 elections House Homeland Security rip DHS's 'unacceptable' failure to comply with subpoena MORE said Thursday that she believed that Mary and Joseph would have been eligible for asylum if they sought to enter the U.S. while fleeing King Herod with Jesus Christ.

Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertHouse Natural Resources gives Grijalva power to subpoena Interior Republicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel Sheila Jackson Lee tops colleagues in House floor speaking days over past decade MORE (R-Texas) poised the question to Nielsen during a congressional hearing, after Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) earlier claimed that Jesus “would have perished” under the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

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“You mentioned that asylum is actually only found to be appropriate in about 10 percent of the people who claim asylum,” Gohmert said. “And for my colleague who left, if Mary and Joseph were trying to come into the United States under the situation that existed and King Herod was trying to kill everybody under two, would they be eligible for asylum in the United States?”

Nielsen replied that they would be.

“So he can scratch that from his concerns; they would get into the United States,” Gohmert replied, referring to Gutiérrez.

Gutiérrez minutes earlier had delivered a blistering criticism of Nielsen, largely focusing on immigration policies enforced by her agency.

“It is repugnant to me and astonishing to me that during Christmas … a time in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, a Jesus Christ who had to flee for his life with Mary and Joseph,” the Democrat said. “Thank God there wasn’t a wall that stopped him from seeking refuge in Egypt. Thank God that wall wasn’t there, and thank God there wasn’t an administration like this or he would too have perished.”

Nielsen fired back, saying she took "personal offense" on behalf of all Department of Homeland Security staffers over Gutiérrez's remarks.