Speaking on MSNBC with Andrea Mitchell, former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson admitted that the Obama Administration expanded family detention of illegal immigrants in order to deal with the spike in illegal immigration coming from south of the border. The exchange went like this:
Johnson: Correct. Lesson learned. 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's 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 then 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.
Mitchell: And you got a lot of heat for it.
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 that people could see what we were doing.