Jeh Johnson: Obama Administration Expanded Migrant Family Detention

obama immigrant detention center

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson reminded MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell Thursday of the Obama administration’s decision to expand the number of immigrant family detentions.

A partial transcript follows: 

JEH JOHNSON: Illegal migration reacts sharply to perceived changes in enforcement policy — in the short term — but it always reverts back longer term to the longer term trends given the underlying condition of the so-called push factors in central America. So that is what President Trump and his administration have seen now over the last year. The numbers are 40 or 50,000 per month and they are obviously very frustrated with that. So in 2014 — to deal with the spike than with the families — we did a number of things; including by the way, working with the government of Mexico and obtaining their cooperation on securing their southern border, uh, but we also expanded family detention, which was, I freely admit, controversial.

ANDREA MITCHELL: And you got a lot of heat for it.

JEH JOHNSON: We got a lot of heat for it. There were just 95 beds out of a total of 34,000 equipped to handle families. We expanded that capability. I will freely admit that I made a big deal out of it so people could see what we were doing.

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