Minnesota Senator Tina Smith calls for DHS secretary Nielsen to resign

Walz tweets that Nielson should step down

Susie Jones
June 19, 2018 - 10:31 am

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Minnesota US Senator Tina Smith is calling for the Department of Homeland Security Secretary to resign.

"She has lost all credibility," she told CNN on Tuesday.

Smith said President Trump should put an end to the "zero-tolerance" approach to illegal border crossings.

"If the President thinks it's terrible, he could change it right now with one phone call," she said. 

Smith is co-sponsoring the "Keep Families Together Act" which she says has the support of 49 other Democrats but no Republicans, "I have supported policy and legislation that would enhance border security and that would move ahead with immigration reform. But we have a humanitarian crisis and we can fix it right now."

Smith has also co-sponsored the "Help Separated Children Act." which helps parents keep track of their children if they are undocumented and detained.

First District Congressman Tim Walz tweeted Tuesday that Nielson must go

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced the "zero tolerance" policy in May, defended the policy Monday night on Fox News. He said that the previous policy of charging border crossers with immigration violation did not work since often those detained had to be released while awaiting a court date. Session;s new approach has to charge all border crossers criminally, which has resulted in parents being separated from children while they await  trial. 

"Under the previous policies, if they entered the country illegally, nothing ever happened. We are doing the right thing. We are taking care of this children, they are not being abused," he told Laura Ingram. 

Sessions also said that he believes the majority of the people entering the country illegally are economic migrants, an idea that Smith disagreed with.  

"What we have right now is we have parents bringing their children to our country seeking asylum. They are refugees, escaping violence," Smith said.

Also today, Democratic attorneys general demanded that the Trump administration end a "zero tolerance" policy that has resulted in children being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Led by New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, 21 top state prosecutors from California to Massachusetts sent a letter Tuesday to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday.  Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson is included in the letter.

They call the policy inhumane. U.S. officials say the children are well cared for.