Johnson admitted to Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday morning that his department “expanded family detention” as well as detained some children alone, but added that he believed the decision “was necessary at the time.”
Former Obama DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson admitted to Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday morning that his department “expanded family detention” as well as detained some children alone, but added that he believed the decision “was necessary at the time.”
After showing pictures of detained children from 2014, Wallace noted that “in some cases you separated children from their parents” before asking, “Did you handle it so well?”
“Without a doubt the images, and the reality, from 2014, just like 2018, are not pretty,” Johnson said. “And so we expanded family detention. We had then 34,000 beds for family detention. Only 95 of 34,000 equipped to deal with families. And so we expanded it. I freely admit it was controversial. We believed it was necessary at the time. I still believe it is necessary to remain a certain capability for families.”
Johnson then repeated a contention he has repeated before, that we “can’t have catch and release.”
“We can’t have catch and release,” said Johnson. “And in my 3 years we deported or repatriated or returned over a million people.”
“We did not want to go so far as to separate families, but unless we deal with the underlying causes that are motivating people in the first place we are going to continue to bang our heads against the wall on this issue,” he said.
The Trump administration has come under significant fire of late for both expanded family detention as well as the individual detention of children, two policies that were in place under the Obama and previous administrations.
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