Did Kirstjen Nielsen Commit Perjury?

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Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testifies before the House Homeland Security Committee on border security on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, March 6, 2019. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)

A new report from the Division of Homeland Security’s Business office of Inspector Typical (OIG) signifies that previous Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen may possibly have provided fake testimony to Congress about no matter whether the Trump Administration was having steps to lessen the processing of refugees at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In December 2018, then-Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen appeared at a Congressional oversight listening to in which she answered thoughts similar to border protection actions and immigration enforcement guidelines. During the hearing, Nielsen expressed condolences to the relatives of the 7-12 months-old migrant woman who died of dehydration and shock following being apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Safety (CBP). She also mentioned Trump’s plans for utilizing what would later on be identified as the “Remain in Mexico” plan.

At the time, the Trump administration was also asking that the Supreme Court uphold its asylum ban, arguing that advocacy teams these as the ACLU should not be permitted to litigate on behalf of refugees.

At the listening to, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) questioned Secretary Nielsen as follows:

NADLER:  Are media reports suitable that CPB has not long ago executed so-named “port hardening,” the place CPB is truly lessening its processing ability at the ports?

NIELSEN: “Port hardening” is a little something very distinctive than queuing. The queuing is based mostly on all the of the missions that we have to do at the border which includes…

NADLER: But are you doing just about anything that would minimize your capability to approach people, X range of folks for every day at the ports?

NIELSEN: I’m not positive what the issue implies. No sir. We are attempting to execute all our missions at the ports of entry.

NADLER: Are you executing just about anything that slows down, that decreases the number of persons that can be processed at the ports at a every day or weekly foundation?

NIELSEN: We are meeting all of our missions. So in the sum of what we have to do amongst countrywide safety, between narcotics, between economic protection and individuals with no paperwork at specified ports, we do not have capability to do all of that at the exact same time. That’s why queing occurs. We consider them as they arrive so that we meet up with our necessities.

NADLER: I comprehend all that. My question is, are you carrying out anything at all that you did not utilised to do– that is reducing the capacity to method people at the ports.

NIELSEN: No we are continuing to do what we will need to do.

Online video of the exchange can be viewed below beneath.

Even soon immediately after the listening to, there were being a lot of inquiries about the accuracy of Nielsen’s response. Analysis in early 2019 by the Cato Institute talked over the Trump Administration’s owning substantially lowered processing of migrants at the border. Immigration coverage analyst David J. Bier wrote in February 2019:

“The Section of Homeland Security (DHS) has been turning absent asylum seekers, families, and other migrants without having paperwork as they try to implement for entry at lawful ports alongside the U.S-Mexico border. Migrants are then pressured to wait times, months, or months homeless in Mexico. The coverage clearly violates U.S. asylum legislation, which has no limit on asylum programs, and according to the DHS Workplace of the Inspector Typical, the practice outcomes in numerous choosing to enter illegally.”

The Oct 2020 OIG report, on the other hand, has introduced this back again into the spotlight. Immigration lawful gurus said that the OIG report confirmed Nielsen lied under oath to Congress.

The report released by the OIG on October 27, 2020 located that “in Might 2018, DHS and CBP leaders expected an raise in undocumented aliens looking for entry at the southern border.” In reaction, it uncovered, Secretary Nielsen looked into conducting “Queue Management” – turning absent some of the undocumented aliens by possessing CPB officers stand at a “limit line” at the U.S.-Mexico border.” Arguably the most damning line was this:

“After finding out that 650 aliens would be prevented from entering ports every single working day, in June 2018, then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen licensed the practice.”

The report also discovered that that Nielsen “told the ports that processing inadmissible aliens (who involve asylum seekers) was not one of CPB’s key priorities, and they should contemplate re-assigning personnel absent from processing such aliens to concentration in its place of detecting and apprehension of narcotics and currency smugglers.”

Plainly, Nielsen’s statements to the committee do not sq. with the findings in the OIG report. But do the distinctions increase to the amount of perjury?

The federal perjury statute is 18 U.S. Code § 1621. It claims:


(1)acquiring taken an oath ahead of a skilled tribunal, officer, or person, in any circumstance in which a regulation of the United States authorizes an oath to be administered, that he will testify, declare, depose, or certify definitely, or that any created testimony, declaration, deposition, or certification by him subscribed, is legitimate, willfully and contrary to such oath states or subscribes any content subject which he does not believe that to be true or

(2)in any declaration, certificate, verification, or assertion under penalty of perjury as permitted under portion 1746 of title 28, United States Code, willfully subscribes as correct any product make a difference which he does not believe to be correct

is guilty of perjury and shall, other than as normally expressly supplied by legislation, be fined underneath this title or imprisoned not much more than 5 years, or both. This area is relevant irrespective of whether the assertion or subscription is built within or with no the United States.

Nielsen gave sworn testimony ahead of a capable tribunal authorized to administer an oath. What’s open for discussion is: 1) regardless of whether she willfully mentioned everything that she did not consider to be true and 2) no matter whether, if so, people matters count as “any material matter.”

Let’s start off with “any substance subject.” The typically-accepted authorized definition of “material” is “relevant and goes to the significant issues in dispute, or has a genuine and productive affect or bearing on the final decision of the circumstance.”

In the circumstance of Nielsen’s testimony just before Congress, “the case” would almost certainly be defined as Congress’s oversight of DHS border protection actions. True, it wasn’t a “hearing” in the sense that it was testimony through litigation, but oversight hearings rely, and witnesses are predicted to give truthful testimony. Supplied that the subject matter about which Nielsen was speaking–actions at the border–was precisely what the listening to was intended to examine, there appears to be tiny question that her feedback similar to a “material matter” for uses of perjury.

Let’s go on to no matter if Nielsen’s statement that she was not performing anything at all that would decrease ability to cope with the quantity of persons at the ports. If the OIG’s report is taken at experience worth, it seems to represent a immediate conflict with Nielsen’s reply. Nielsen may well offer an explanation that her remedy was truthful in that it distinguished among “port hardening” and “queuing.”  Still, Nielsen’s final trade with Nadler developed a distinct “no” to the dilemma of whether or not processing abilities were purposefully reduced.

The OIG report does forged really serious doubt as to the veracity of that reply. Likely, Nielsen’s strongest argument in opposition to perjury would be that she did not know that “Queue Management” would truly decrease the selection of migrants that could be processed at the border. These kinds of an argument may possibly demonstrate tricky presented the administration’s overtly hardline method to refugees.

Nielsen is presently outlined as a member of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC), which is section of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Stability Agency (CISA). Legislation&Criminal offense attained out to CISA’s media call for comment on the OIG report’s conclusions.

[Image via Jim Watson by/AFP via Getty Images]

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