Politics

Acting DHS Secretary Says Family Separation Failed Because It Killed Public Trust

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter

The acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary said the Trump administration’s family separation policy was a failure because it killed public trust during a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday.

“The enforcement of the law against parents who violated our border laws and brought children with them was effective,” Kevin McAleenan told “60 Minutes.” “It reduced the flow, but it didn’t work in the sense that we lost the public trust in the implementation of that initiative.”

DHS started building tent cities along the Texas border to house families, according to the “60 Minutes” report. (RELATED: Acting DHS Chief: Family Separation ‘Not On The Table’)

“We just had a bipartisan report from the Homeland Security Advisory Council that looked at the situation we’re facing on the border and said, ‘You need additional facilities,'” McAleenan said. “You need to be able to take families and children out of a Border Patrol station, which is a police station, it’s built for single adults who have violated laws. And you need them in a better setting.”

Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Secretary Kevin McAleenan listens to questions from DHS personnel at the One World Trade Center on April 22, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Secretary Kevin McAleenan listens to questions from DHS personnel at the One World Trade Center on April 22, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

McAleenan rejected the idea that the Trump administration would reintroduce family separation of illegal migrants Tuesday.

“I think the president has been clear that family separation is not on the table and again this was a zero tolerance prosecution initiative that was targeted at adults violating the law,” McAleenan said Tuesday to NBC anchor Lester Holt. “They were always intended to be reunited.”

Former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned earlier in April, so then-Customs and Border Protection commissioner McAleenan took over the department. He had previously served as deputy commissioner of CBP under former President Barack Obama.

McAleenan’s “60 Minutes” interview comes days after the Pentagon announced it plans on sending around 300 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

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