At this week’s White House press briefing, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen offered cold, hollow responses on children being ripped away from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
A day later, the secretary who oversees the deplorable separation of many Latino families, tried to enjoy some fine dining at an upscale Mexican restaurant near the White House.
Unfortunately, for her, it didn’t go as planned.
Nielsen’s dinner at MXDC Cocina Mexicana in Washington D.C. was soon interrupted by a group of demonstrators, including members of the D.C. chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), who expressed their outrage over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration.
The activists chanted, “Shame,” “Sanctuary for all” and "if kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace" as the secretary attempted to enjoy her meal with a male dining companion.
“How can you enjoy a Mexican dinner as you’re deporting, imprisoning tens and thousands of people who come here seeking asylum. We call on you to end family separation and abolish (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)," one demonstrator could be heard yelling, as Nielsen looked down at her plate.
The video posted by DSA on Facebook showed Secret Service agents preventing the protesters from approaching Nielsen but that didn’t stop the activists from heckling the secretary about the contentious family separation policy for at least ten minutes.
“She was in the corner on her phone, just staring at her phone. Not engaging at all,” witness Erica Olmstead told the Daily News.
Though the secretary tried to ignore the commotion for as long as she could, the protests intensified which prompted Nielsen to call it a night.
DHS Secretary Nielsen just got driven out of a Mexican restaurant here on 14th Street by activists. DSA, I believe. pic.twitter.com/lTKutryXBO— OsitaNwanevu (@OsitaNwanevu) June 20, 2018
“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 our border,” Margaret McLaughlin, a member Metro DC DSA’s steering committee, said in a statement. “Secretary Nielsen and everyone else who has carried out these brutal and cold-blooded orders to rip apart families should never be allowed to eat and drink in public again.”
While the videos shot from inside the restaurant clearly showed Neilsen ignoring the protesters, DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton tweeted out a statement which made it sound like she interacted with them.
While having a work dinner tonight, the Secretary and her staff heard from a small group of protestors who share her concern with our current immigration laws that have created a crisis on our southern border.— Tyler Q. Houlton (@SpoxDHS) June 20, 2018
Members of DSA took credit for the encounter and posted a statement to Facebook.
“We’re in downtown DC disrupting DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s dinner at MXDC,” they wrote. “The irony isn’t lost on us that this is a Mexican restaurant. Nielsen has led the program to tell her to put an end to separating families, to step down as head of the department, and that ICE and CBP must be abolished #abolishICE #abolishCBP.”
Social media users took to Twitter and lashed out at Nielsen for having the audacity to dine at a Mexican restaurant after ripping apart families, deporting and imprisoning thousands of people from Latin America who come to the U.S. seeking asylum.
As a Mexican American who worked in a Mexican restaurant, Kirstjen Nielsen reminds me of like... half our customers. Racists love Mexican food! They like mispronouncing your menu items and making you do their order over again.— JuanPa (@jpbrammer) June 20, 2018
Watch this fantastic clip of @mdc_dsa interrupting Kirstjen Nielsen while she was at a Mexican restaurant. It’s pretty marvelous.— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) June 20, 2018
“Kirstjen Nielsen is in a Mexican restaurant of all places, the fucking gall. Shame on you!” pic.twitter.com/k4EcFDrQTf
"If kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace!”— Lily Whyte-Lilith (@LilywhiteLilyth) June 20, 2018
Thank you very much indeed to the protestors who had the eloquence to shout the message posted above at Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, as she attempted to dine "inpeace" at a Mexican restaurant in NYC this evening pic.twitter.com/k9pbgsLQmS
Trump's HHS Sec Kirstjen Nielsen—who oversees the deplorable family separation policy—was just shamed out of a Mexican restaurant by @mdc_dsa!— jordan (@JordanUhl) June 20, 2018
That's right: The woman behind the destruction of Latino families was at a Mexican restaurant
Here's footage from inside the restaurant pic.twitter.com/AaYBDPCDID
Nielsen has undergone a noticeable transformation in recent days – from being a target of President Donald Trump’s ire for failing to adequately secure the border, to all of a sudden being a fervent protector of the notorious immigration policy.
After Trump berated her during a Cabinet meeting for not introducing enough measures to stop undocumented border crossings, Nielsen reportedly drafted a resignation letter.
However, this week when the Trump administration was confronted by images of children in cages, Nielsen served as a shield against the widespread criticism for its draconian attempts to discourage border crossings.
She went on to say the agents wouldn’t apologize for doing their jobs of enforcing immigration laws –which have separated nearly 2,000 minors from their families over six weeks.
Nielsen’s apparent attempt to curry favor with her boss did work out for her as Trump took to Twitter to applaud her justification of the brutal policy.
Homeland Security @SecNielsen did a fabulous job yesterday at the press conference explaining security at the border and for our country, while at the same time recommending changes to obsolete & nasty laws, which force family separation. We want “heart” and security in America!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2018
Banner Image Credits: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts