Protesters affiliated with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) interrupted Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen while she was eating at a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C. Tuesday night.
The protesters, who reportedly arrived after receiving a tip that Nielsen was eating at the restaurant, gathered around her table and began chanting “Abolish ICE,” “Shame,” and “End Texas concentration camps!”
Part one of a video of @mdc_dsa @DC_IWW and others shouting DHS Secretary Nielsen out of a restaurant. She doesn’t need to be kidnapping #immigrantchildren to deserve this treatment. Don’t give the regime a moment of rest. #KeepFamilesTogether pic.twitter.com/B3RfraOk1E
— Smash Racism DC (@SmashRacismDC) June 20, 2018
A member of the Washington, D.C. chapter of DSA later explained that the protest was prompted by Nielsen’s defense of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration-enforcement policy, which has thus far resulted in the separation of more than 2,000 children from their parents, who are being detained while awaiting prosecution for crossing the border illegally.
Nielsen emerged as the face of the “zero tolerance” policy Monday, defending the approach as the unfortunate product of legislative inaction, and calling on Congress to pass an immigration-reform bill that provides a solution to end family separations.
“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,” Megan McLaughlin, a member of the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America 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. These barbarous acts must end and those at the helm must be held accountable. While Secretary Nielsen’s dinner may have been ruined, it is nothing compared to the horrors she has inflicted on innocent families.”
After several minutes of shouting, Nielsen eventually left the restaurant and entered an awaiting SUV. The Metro D.C. Police arrived a short time later and briefly held the protesters in the restaurant before allowing them to leave.