Outgoing Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has a background in cybersecurity, but she will always be known for policies for separating families at the border instead, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said Monday.
"Kirstjen Nielsen will be known for implementing a cruel policy of forcibly separating parents and children rather than strengthening the border or our security as a country," Coons told CNN's "New Day." "She had a background in cybersecurity. I think that's not what she'll be known for.
"It has to raise the question for anyone who is offered a Cabinet opportunity with President [Donald] Trump whether their reputation will survive."
Nielsen was "frustrated" by what President Donald Trump has wanted to be done, as "he's asking for the department to do things that violate the law," Coons said. "He's more pressing for actions at the border that don't respect our treaty obligations, domestic statutes on how we treat people seeking asylum."
Coons added reports from Nielsen's last meeting with Trump, held Sunday, noted she told him what her limits were, and "he didn't accept those limitations and she was fired."
Nielsen said in her resignation letter Congress would not pass laws to help on the border, and Coons disagreed.
"As someone who worked hard to put together bipartisan bills last year, Congress has tried hard to find pathways to work with this administration that still respects our humanitarian commitments, international legal commitments," Coons said. "As long as Stephen Miller, who is a real hardliner on immigration, is advising the president, that's who he's listening to he's going to keep moving the goalposts rather than working with us on a reasonable compromise."
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