Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified before the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday to give insight as to the treatment of apprehended undocumented immigrants, the state of the southern border, and the future of President Donald Trump's wall there.
The Trump administration's policy of forcibly separating families to put the children in cages shocked the country last year.
At today's hearing, Nielsen insisted that the enclosures weren't cages.
"Sir, they're not cages!" Nielsen said to Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS).
"What are they?" asked Thompson.
"They are areas of the border facility that are carved out for the safety and protection of those who remain there while they're being processed."
NIELSEN: "Sir, they're not cages!" THOMPSON: "What are they?" NIELSEN: "They are areas of the border facility tha… https://t.co/Pt7xl8qzMs— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1551892064.0
She tried—and failed—again to argue semantics with the committee members.
.@RepBonnie: What is a chainlink fence enclosed into a chamber on a concrete floor? A cage? @SecNielsen: It's a de… https://t.co/slDPb4OKum— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1551892789.0
Others agreed that Nielsen's definition was at best reminiscent of a cage.
@atrupar Is it an enclosure that prevents them from freely moving about? If so, it’s a cage. Calling it anything e… https://t.co/NAy7mAGNku— MOTR Politics (@MOTR Politics)1551898249.0
@atrupar Another words, a cage.— Mauri Sal (@Mauri Sal)1551896272.0
@atrupar Sounds like a cage to me— Bleedgreen78 (@Bleedgreen78)1551895872.0
@atrupar They are not ‘cages’. They are areas of the veterninary care facility that are carved out for the safety a… https://t.co/dGvoNcDYDS— Jim'sJunkBox (@Jim'sJunkBox)1551902890.0
This isn't the first time Trump's officials have tried to fend off the word "cage."
Last year, Border Patrol issued a statement asking that the media refrain from referring to the cages as cages.
This just in from @davidbegnaud: Border Patrol has reached out to @cbsthismorning and said they are "very uncomfort… https://t.co/eMz6qYHALn— CBS This Morning (@CBS This Morning)1529326723.0
Border Patrol acknowledged that the term "cages" wasn't inaccurate, yet insisted it was still "very uncomfortable" with the use of it.
But, according to those who have seen them, they are cages indeed.
Got them from @CBP. The first photos since zero tolerance was announced inside the largest Border Patrol processi… https://t.co/ST0hYOS2nm— Jacob Soboroff (@Jacob Soboroff)1529275640.0
.@SecNielsen just now to @BennieGThompson: "Sir, they're not cages." Full stop, that is not true. Take it from me… https://t.co/2zQRikxFYx— Jacob Soboroff (@Jacob Soboroff)1551891694.0
I saw them with my own eyes. They’re cages. With children in them. https://t.co/EP7z4CeUwu— Senator Jeff Merkley (@Senator Jeff Merkley)1551903735.0
@atrupar I’ve been there...I’ve seen them. They ARE FUCKING CAGES!— Selkie 🌊🧜🏼♀️ (@Selkie 🌊🧜🏼♀️)1551906751.0
Though Nielsen was prepared to argue semantics, she wasn't able to say how many children are currently being held at the southern border.