‘It may be that a small child cannot scale a wall, perhaps…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief Sarah Saldaña said President Donald Trump’s border wall “makes no sense” in terms of enforcement because immigrants are not “threats” to national security.
Saldaña, who directed ICE under former President Barack Obama in 2015 and 2016, said that enforcement-wise, a border wall on the U.S.–Mexico border will do little good because immigrants from Central America don’t want to harm the country.
“We have to focus on the true threats. And the true threat is not a mother or child at the border,” Saldaña told Yahoo News. “That is not a true threat. It’s not a mother or child or a family in the interior.”
Offering no great insight into the bureau’s operations beyond oft-repeated Democratic talking points, Saldaña’s claim echoed a much criticized comment made in August by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., on the news that an illegal had murdered Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts.
“I’m so sorry for the family here … but one of the things we have to remember here is we need an immigration system that is effective—that focuses on where real problems are,” Warren said.
Trump has maintained that in addition to helping maintain election integrity and saving millions of taxpayer dollars supporting illegal welfare abusers, the wall would save thousands of lives by deterring drug-traffickers and other violent criminals.
After downplaying the threat of illegal immigrants, Saldaña pivoted to another talking point, mocking the effectiveness of a wall at deterring them.
“It can be effective to some degree. It may be that a small child cannot scale a wall, perhaps,” she said. “Is that the person we’re trying to keep out?”
Saldaña said that drug traffickers smuggle narcotics through legal ports of entry or through tunnels underneath border barriers, and that the bulk of illegal immigration occurs when people enter the U.S. legally, but then overstay their visas.
“I don’t know who is telling the president that this is a good idea. Because you always weigh these measures by effectiveness and cost,” she said.
On Saldaña’s watch, between 2014 and 2016, ICE apprehensions and deportations plunged to record lows in recent memory. Many pointed to the statistics as evidence that the number of immigrants stealing their way into the U.S. was decreasing.
Of course, it might also mean that the agency simply wasn’t performing its duties.
But after tearing down the essential functions ICE provides as pointless in the interview, Saldaña added that radical leftist calls to abolish the agency also made no sense. “It’s a simplistic slogan that really doesn’t address the issue.”
Liberty Headlines’ Ben Sellers contributed to this report.