Looks like there was a FOIA to get at some documents for the Immigration’s issue harshest program, Zero Tolerance. Despite denials from DHS Sec K Nielsen that she claims she had no part in this, but it appears that she did sign off on the policies, allowing for the detention and separation of families.
Note: The signatures have been redacted…and this Open the Government group wants to get the documents unredacted.
We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.
2:52 PM - 17 Jun 2018
This misreporting by Members, press & advocacy groups must stop. It is irresponsible and unproductive. As I have said many times before, if you are seeking asylum for your family, there is no reason to break the law and illegally cross between ports of entry.
2:51 PM - 17 Jun 2018
Open the Government
Newly released memo obtained by OTG & POGO through FOIA reveals secretary of homeland security signed off on family separation policy http://www.openthegovernment.org/node/5713
Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen previously denied existence of policy
Open the Government and the Project On Government Oversight have obtained documents through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that provides new insights into internal decision-making behind the separation of thousands of parents from their children at the border earlier this year.
The biggest revelation in the documents is a memo dated April 23, in which top Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials urged criminal prosecution of parents crossing the border with children—the policy that led to the crisis that continues today. The memo, first reported on by the Washington Post on April 26, but never previously published, provides evidence that Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen signed off on a policy of family separation despite her repeated claims denying that there was such a policy. The Post appears to have obtained a copy of the memo prior to its signature.
The memo states that DHS could “permissibly direct the separation of parents or legal guardians and minors held in immigration detention so that the parent or legal guardian can be prosecuted.” It outlines three options for implementing “zero tolerance,” the policy of increased prosecution of immigration violations. Of these, it recommends “Option 3,” referring for prosecution all adults crossing the border without authorization, “including those presenting with a family unit,” as the “most effective.”
The last page of the memo contains a signature approving Option 3, but the signature—almost certainly Nielsen’s, given that the memo is addressed to her—was blacked out by FOIA officers on privacy grounds. FOIA officials also appear to have redacted the date of the signature indicating approval.
Open the Government and the Project On Government Oversight intend to appeal the redaction of the memo. The Secretary of Homeland Security is a high-level public official; using privacy exemptions to hide her role in major policy decisions is unacceptable.