‘If the parent or the guardian has a serious, criminal history, we will still separate them as well…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) President Trump’s newly appointed Customs and Border Protection chief defended the administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy in an interview Friday, saying separating families that illegally cross the border took place long before Trump took office.
“Under all four administrations I have worked under, we have separated families for different reasons,” Carla Provost told Hill.TV, an online program produced by The Hill. “Obviously, the welfare of the child is of utmost concern for us. And we are still separating if that is of concern. If the parent or the guardian has a serious, criminal history, we will still separate them as well.”
Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have faced extreme criticism for defending the family separation policy, with the mainstream media arguing the policy is a new one introduced by Trump. But Provost said family separations rarely affected children—85 percent of illegals prosecuted under the policy were single adults.
“Let me be clear, there was never a family separation initiative,” Provost told Hill.TV. “There was a prosecution initiative under zero tolerance. Under that initiative, when we first kicked that off, the intent was to prosecute all amenable adults, so there was no group that was excluded from that. I can tell you during the 45 days that family groups were included in there, about 85 percent of who we prosecuted were single adults. We’ve separated families throughout my entire career for various things.”
Trump reversed the policy in June, however, after facing bipartisan pressure to do so. He signed an executive order to immediately end the separation of families.
“We’re going to have strong, very strong borders, but we’re going to keep the families together,” Trump said shortly after signing the order. “I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.”