Several Architects of Trump’s Family Separation Policy Have Already Landed Cushy Roles Outside of Administration

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, a new report from the Department of Justice’s inspector general revealed in even graver detail how Trump’s horrific “zero tolerance” policy led to widespread suffering as a result of family separations at the nation’s southern border. According to the report, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration were aware of the potential harm the policy would cause and opted to move forward with it regardless.   

According to the Washington Post, Sessions and his top deputy, Rod Rosenstein, pushed the zero tolerance policy, “making sure the Department of Homeland Security aggressively increased the prosecution of adults arriving with children,” making it clear that the government knew that the policy would separate families. 

But despite Session’s and Rosenstein’s roles in crafting and implementing the cruel policy, they have already landed cushy gigs even while over 600 children are still separated from their families. And they aren’t the only architects of the horrific policy who have been rewarded with high-paying opportunities. 

“President Trump hasn’t left office yet, but the architects of his horrific family separation policy have already started cashing in on book deals, speaking tours, and boardroom gigs,” said Accountable.US spokesperson Lizzy Price. “Trump administration officials knew that the zero-tolerance policy would allow families to be ripped apart and children to be left to suffer alone in cages. With Inauguration Day fast approaching, more senior administration officials who enacted this horrific policy will be looking for jobs. They shouldn’t be rewarded with cushy jobs for their participation in this dark era of our country’s history.” 

Some family separation architects who have already found comfortable landings outside the Trump administration include:

  • Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who racked up as much as $108,000 in speaking fees since departing his role in the administration in 2018, was a central figure in the inspector general’s report and “pushed aggressively to expand the practice” of family separation prosecutions in his capacity as attorney general, instructing prosecutors “we need to take away children.”
  • Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who joined the law firm King & Spalding as a partner in the special government investigations team, with the chairman citing Rosenstein’s “unquestioned integrity.” While Rosenstein was at the Justice Department, he “pushed aggressively” to expand family separation policy and instructed prosecutors that they should proceed with cases regardless of how young the children involved were.
  • Former White House chief of staff John Kelly, who joined the board of the operator of the largest detention center for immigrant children just months after leaving the administration. Kelly played a “crucial role” in family separation policy and defended the practice as a necessary evil, while noting that separated kids would be “put in foster care or whatever.”
  • Former DHS chief of staff Miles Taylor, who recently unmasked himself as so-called “Anonymous,” was employed — and then in fact promoted — by Google before departing in recent weeks, in addition to landing gigs as a CNN contributor, at Auburn University and picking up representation through United Talent Agency. Taylor participated in numerous meetings on the policy and extensively prepped the DHS secretary on the issue.
  • Former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who has taken an advisory role with the Australian government on cybersecurity and in October was named as an advisor to a secure computing platform company. Nielsen presided as secretary over the implementation of the family separation policy in 2018, signing the order to proceed while fully aware it would lead to separations.

Learn more about those involved in separating families at


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