DHS: Nielsen hasn't visited child detention center since family separation policy

DHS: Nielsen hasn't visited child detention center since family separation policy

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told reporters on Tuesday that 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 has not visited a migrant detention center that houses children since the creation of a policy separating migrant families.

According to NBC News White House correspondent Geoff Bennet, Nielsen has made two recent visits. The first was to Otay Mesa, a detention center in San Diego along the U.S.-Mexico border, before the policy went into effect. The second visit was to Nogales, a 72-hour hold facility that does not house children, on June 1, after the policy went into effect.




The statement from DHS comes as Nielsen has fiercely defended the "zero tolerance" immigration policy and has asserted that holding facilities offer good living conditions. 


"It is important to note that these minors are very well taken care of — don’t believe the press," Nielsen said to the National Sheriff's Association on Monday.

"They are very well taken care of — you know this, as many of you have detention facilities of your own," she added.

According to The Associated Press, about 2,000 migrant children have been separated from their parents since the Trump administration announced it would criminally prosecute all adults attempting to illegally cross the southern border into the U.S., resulting in some families being separated. 

The policy has come under fire from all sides, with Republicans and Democrats alike criticizing the rule. Some lawmakers have visited detention centers, sparking further criticism and debate over immigrants' living conditions.

Nielsen maintained that the conditions are "some of the highest" in the country.

"We provide food, medical, education and all the needs of the child — but let's be honest, there are some who would like us to look the other way dealing with families at the border and not enforce the law," said Nielsen.

The Trump administration has hit Democrats for the policy and asserted that Congress can fix the issue by passing immigration reform.  

Members of Congress have introduced legislation to end the practice of separating families, but have continued arguing that Trump must unilaterally stop the separations.