Jan 18, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Senator asks FBI to open perjury investigation into Kirstjen Nielsen

A close up of the profile of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testifying for Congress.

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) has formally requested that the FBI investigate whether Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen lied under oath when she told Congress in December 2018, "We've never had a policy for family separation."

The big picture: A newly released memo reveals that DHS and Justice Department officials floated a proposal in December 2017 to specifically target migrant parents for criminal prosecution in order to deter families from crossing the border. The memo, which also included other possible policy proposals, ultimately became the basis for the "zero-tolerance" policy, which led to thousands of children separated from their parents.

Go deeper