Tags: Immigration | jeh johnson | separating | immigrant | families | deliberate | short term

Jeh Johnson Rips 'Deliberate' Policy of Separating Families at Border

Image: Jeh Johnson Rips 'Deliberate' Policy of Separating Families at Border
Jeh Johnson (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By    |   Saturday, 16 June 2018 05:29 PM

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Saturday attacked the Trump administration for separating illegal immigrant children from their parents at the Southern U.S. border, calling it "very obviously a conscious and deliberate policy choice to try to deter people from entering our country."

"It may have a short material effect," Johnson, who served under former President Barack Obama, told Ana Cabrera on CNN.

"But the lesson learned from my experience in office is that policy changes like this may have a short-term impact on illegal migration, but it always reverts to the normal trend so long as the underlying conditions in Central America and Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador persist.

"The poverty and violence that has been noted."

The Associated Press reported Friday that nearly 2,000 immigrant children have been separated from their families over the past six weeks during a crackdown on illegal entries, according to Homeland Security.

In April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a "zero tolerance" policy that refers all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution.

U.S. protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents because the children are not charged with a crime, though the parents are.

President Donald Trump on Saturday blamed the situation on Democrats, tweeting Saturday that party members "can fix their forced family breakup at the border by working with Republicans on new legislation, for a change!"

"There is no law that requires the Trump administration to separate children from their parents," Johnson told Cabrera. "I object highly to this current practice of separating children from their moms and dads at the border."

However, the Obama administration came under fire in 2014 for housing many illegal children who were captured coming across the border alone in detention centers on military bases and at other sites.

"I freely admit that some of the things we had to do in 2014 were unpopular in certain quarters," Johnson said. "And controversial.

"We expanded family detention.

"We actually did the opposite of what is going on now by keeping families together," he said. "A lot of people objected to holding families in detention facilities.

"We expanded family detention," he explained. "That was controversial. Very clearly."

Johnson reiterated the importance of helping depressed nations improve their economies in order to stop residents from fleeing to the United States.

"You can put a lot more border security on our Southern border," he began. "You can hire more agents. You can build more wall.

"You can even go so far as what the administration is doing right now, but as long as we fail to addresses and understand the underlying conditions, we'll be dealing with this problem over and over."

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Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Saturday attacked the Trump administration for separating illegal immigrant children from their parents at the Southern U.S. border, calling it "very obviously a conscious and deliberate policy choice to try to deter people...
jeh johnson, separating, immigrant, families, deliberate, short term
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2018-29-16
Saturday, 16 June 2018 05:29 PM
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