Obama Administration Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson hit back at critics of the Trump Administration, who contend that any detention — of children alone, or children and families together — is unnecessary, saying that even the Obama White House believed the detentions were necessary.
“Without a doubt the images, and the reality, from 2014, just like 2018, are not pretty,” Johnson told Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace. “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 added that the “catch-and-release” strategy of allowing asylum seekers to remain in the country on their own reconnaissance until their asylum hearing, was untenable, and that the Obama Administration, contrary to popular belief, “deported or repatriated” more than a million illegal immigrants.
Johnson’s comments come as the Trump Administration takes renewed fire for continuing its “zero tolerance” policy, which refers all immigrants who enter the country illegally, outside of a designated border crossing, to law enforcement, whether or not they request asylum. Immigration activists say they are not satisfied with simply ending parent-child separations, and will not accept family detainment, either.