Jeh Johnson, a former DHS secretary under President Obama, admitted this week on NBC News that the administration expanded child detention centers.
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 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 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."
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."
Johnson insists the White House "got heat" for the detention centers, but I can't recall it being even a fraction of the heat the Trump administration is getting.
Conditions of these detention centers during Obama's tenure were just as disappointing as today. In one facility in Virginia, young adults recalled months of physical abuse. Yet, the Associated Press report on the center didn't mention Obama. It only referenced President Trump and his zero tolerance policy at the border, which separated illegal immigrant families. Following the backlash over the policy, Trump signed an executive order this week that will keep families united. Yet, critics are noting that it does nothing to reunite children who have already been separated from their parents.
Should some of this criticism be saved for his predecessor?