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Published On: Mon, Jun 25th, 2018

Jeh Johnson discusses detaining illegal immigrants during the Obama administration

The former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson explained during an interview with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC how 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, i.e. South America and Mexico.

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,” Johnson explained.

“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 pressed about the backlash, “heat for it”: “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.”

Check out the exchange below.

Under a 1997 court settlement called the Flores agreement, however, children must be kept in the least-restrictive setting possible, effectively barring incarceration of children alongside their parents. Flores v. Lynch, a 2016 court ruling against the Obama administration, moved forward to prevent keep families together.

California’s The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with efforts to keep families together, saying that Flores applied equally to accompanied and unaccompanied children. But the court said parents could still be held.

In other words, the court said that family separations were legal. Still, the Obama administration decided against ordering such separations, opting to close the centers and let parents go, sometimes with GPS bracelets to track them.

Many critics believe President Trump’s new executive order violates the Flores agreement in the same way.


“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.

About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professional in 2008 on sites like Examiner and blogs: Desk of Brian, Crazed Fanboy. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) will be a licensed Assembly of God Pastor by the Spring of 2017. "Why do we do this?" I was asked and the answer is simple. "I just want the truth. I want a source of information that tells me what's going and clearly attempts to separate opinion from fact. Set aside left and right, old and young, just point to the world and say, 'Look!'" To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. […] Jeh Johnson speaks on the detention, caging the immigrant children, during the Obama administration […]

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