As Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen sat eating dinner Tuesday at MXDC, a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C., she was approached by activists and questioned about her enactment of the Trump Administration’s controversial immigration policies including family separation and tent cities.
“How can you enjoy a Mexican dinner as you’re deporting and imprisoning tens of thousands of people who come here seeking asylum,” asked one of the activists.
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) June 20, 2018
Video of the protesters shouting “If kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace” at the Secretary was posted on Facebook by Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America (Metro DC DSA).
One activist can be heard criticizing the choice of the Secretary, who has defended her agency’s practice of breaking up families at the border with Mexico as merely enforcing the law, eating at a Mexican restaurant.
“Kirstjen Nielsen will want you to think that we’re ruining their dinner,” an activist said to the camera. “Have you ever been to a detention center? I’ve been to one in Nogales, Arizona. Those kids are alone, they are in cages, they are given peanut butter on tortillas, they are given frozen sandwiches that still have ice in them.”
When asked for comment, the U.S. Border Patrol office in Nogales, Arizona declined, saying the only person authorized to speak to the media left the office at 5 PM local time.
In a public statement to their Facebook page, Metro DC DSA said that Secretary Nielsen and everyone involved with the implementation of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy “should never be allowed to eat and drink in public again.”
“We will not stand by and let Secretary Nielsen dine in peace, while she is directing her employees to tear little girls away from their mothers and crying boys away from their fathers at the border,” Margaret McLaughlin, a steering committee member for Metro DC DSA stated. “These barbarous acts must end and those at the helm must be held accountable.”
— Metro DC DSA (@mdc_dsa) June 20, 2018
Democrats have called on Secretary Nielsen to resign over the dramatically unpopular policy.
“The government should be in the business of keeping families together, not tearing them apart. And the government should have a commitment to transparency and accountability. Under Secretary Nielsen’s tenure, the Department of Homeland Security has a track record of neither,” said Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) on Monday. “As a result, she must resign.”
Though her resignation isn’t likely, chants of “Kirstjen Nielsen, you’re a villain locking up immigrant children” might follow her next time she craves MXDC’s pollo rostizado with a side of tonedeaf guacamole.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.