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Tipsheet

Biden Wants to Shut Down Detention Facilities For Illegal Immigrants: 'We Don't Need Them'

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said he doesn’t believe the U.S. needs detention facilities for illegal immigrants, telling a town hall audience in South Carolina on Thursday that they should be shut down.

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Responding to a question from an attendee about how the government justifies holding migrants and expanding detention facilities if the safety of those migrants can't be guaranteed—and what he would do about it—Biden replied: “close them down!”

"By the way, we don’t need them. We found that when we were in office…if you would say ‘you have to report back for a hearing on such-and-such date,' people show up,” he continued. “You don’t have to keep kids in a cage. There should be no justification separating a parent from a child."

Many of the "cages," as Democrats now like to call them, were in fact opened during the Obama administration to deal with the massive influx of unaccompanied minors crossing the border. 

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Thomas Homan, Obama's executive associate director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for nearly four years, said recently he knows this for a fact because he was there when they built them in FY 2015.

As to Biden's claim about illegal immigrants showing up for their hearing, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan told lawmakers in June that 90 percent of recent asylum seekers skipped their hearing--a trend that was seen in 2015 as well.

Biden is not alone among Democratic presidential candidate in calling for detention facilities to be shut down, however. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have argued the same. 

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