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Obama’s ICE Chief: Illegal immigrant ‘cages’ were built by the Obama Administration

Then-Deputy Director and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Thomas Homan hosts a press briefing to update the media on progress of "Operation Raging Bull" at ICE headquarters in Washington, D.C., November 15, 2017. (Glenn Fawcett/U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
June 28, 2019

An Obama Administration official said this week that former President Obama directed the migrant detention cages that President Trump has been blamed for.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Thomas Homan said at an immigration conference on Wednesday that Obama ordered the construction of the facility with the so-called “cages,” the Washington Examiner reported.

“I’ve been to that facility, where they talk about cages. That facility was built under President Obama under (Homeland Security) Secretary Jeh Johnson. I was there because I was there when it was built,” Homan said.

Homan made the remarks at a Center for Immigration Studies conference. He referenced a Democratic chairman who asked a Trump Administration official if they were “still keeping kids in cages.”

“I would answer the question, ‘The kids are being housed in the same facility built under the Obama administration.’ If you want to call them cages, call them cages. But if the left wants to call them cages and the Democrats want to call them cages then they have to accept the fact that they were built and funded in FY 2015,” Homan remarked.

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According to Homan, the migrant detention centers don’t include “cages” at all, but rather chain link fencing as a divider to keep children from unrelated adults as a measure of safety.

The “cages” were never intended to hold children in the first place, Homan explained. They were intended only as holding facilities

“People talk about deaths in ICE custody. The city of New York has eight times the number of deaths in custody than ICE does. ICE’s rate is lower than nearly every penal system in this country. The problem is that when people come into ICE custody, many are in bad shape,” Homan pointed out at the conference.

Homan also referred to the House humanitarian aid bill, calling it “extortion” due to its cuts on border enforcement.

“The people in Congress complaining about the conditions of people in custody are the very same people who are not giving the funding to make those facilities better. What have they done to address the crisis at all? What has Congress done?” Homan said at the conference.

Before serving as director of ICE upon his appointment in 2017, Homan had filled the position in an acting capacity, and was previously executive director since 2013. Before his time at ICE, he worked with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and was also a Border Patrol agent and investigator.