The Latest: Lawmakers says DHS head denied being racist

July 26, 2018
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Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen leaves a closed doors meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Wednesday, July 25, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Congress and immigration (all times local):

7:10 p.m.

Two congressmen who attended a private meeting with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen say she told the group, “I am not a racist.”

One of them is Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez. He says Nielsen cited her friendship with the first lady of Honduras and other Latina women.

Around 20 Democratic members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus met with Nielsen to ask about the administration’s now-abandoned policy of separating migrant children from their detained parents.

Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin tweeted that Nielsen said she is not a racist and said no one believes families should be separated.

Gutierrez says he had accused Nielsen of working for “a racist regime.”


1:40 p.m.

Lawmakers say the chief of the Homeland Security Department has told them officials are “on track” to meet a court-imposed deadline of reuniting hundreds of migrant children with parents or guardians.

That deadline is Thursday.

The lawmakers, all Democrats and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, say Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s remarks were met with disbelief and anger.

Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez says he told Nielsen “she is committing crimes against humanity, that she is a child abuser” and that she is “an accomplice of Donald Trump’s racist regime.”