Jeh Johnson: Obama Admin ‘Did Not Separate Families as a Policy and Practice’

Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson declared that the Obama administration “did not separate families as a policy and practice.”

Partial transcript as follows: 

MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ve been talking about the conditions at facilities, detention facilities of many forms under the Trump Administration. I want to show an image of you touring a facility in Arizona back in 2014. President Trump often refers to the language referring to these chain link fence dividers, cages as some call them, as “unique,” that the Obama administration is doing though all of this in a way that he just had to continue, that he is doing things essentially the same way. He inherited the policy. What’s so different?

JOHNSON: Well there are a number of things different, Margaret. First there was no zero tolerance policy in the Obama administration. We did not separate families as a policy and practice. And the photograph you showed, I remembered that visit well. It was Arizona. It was June 2014, during the spike we had then, though the numbers were not as high as they are now. And under the law if you have an unaccompanied child cross the border, DHS within 72 hours is required to turn that child over to- to HHS. And in that 72 hour period we needed to have places like the one we set up temporarily in Arizona to- to house the kids until they could be placed with HHS and the partitions you see, some call them cages, are meant to separate the- the women from the men, the girls from the boys. But these were temporary. What that photograph doesn’t show is, I probably spent half my time at that facility actually inside those fenced in areas talking to the- the young boys and girls about their situation and about the conditions.

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