A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Video: Nielsen’s Policy Distortion


This video from CNN’s Jake Tapper and FactCheck.org explains how Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen distorted the facts when she tweeted that the Trump administration does “not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.”

The fact is, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero tolerance policy” on illegal immigration in April, and stated in May that the Department of Homeland Security “is now referring 100 percent of illegal Southwest Border crossings to the Department of Justice for prosecution.” That results in separations when the parents are sent to federal court and detained under the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. The children are referred to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, which assumes responsibility for “unaccompanied alien children” until they can be placed with other family members in the country or in foster care.

Some administration officials, such as White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, have even acknowledged a change in policy to serve as a deterrent to illegal immigration.

This week’s fact-checking collaboration was based on our June 20 article “Nielsen’s Rhetoric on Family Separations.” Our other joint videos with CNN can be found on our website.