Acting I.C.E. Director: Family Separation Is 'Not the Intent' of Immigration Raids

Susan Jones | July 15, 2019 | 6:52am EDT
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Mark Morgan is the Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (Screen capture/CBS)

( - The aliens targeted for deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents "are criminal aliens, meaning those people that are here illegally and have committed additional crimes against American citizens," Acting I.C.E. Director Mark Morgan told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

But Morgan said I.C.E. also will prioritize people named in final orders of removal from a judge, yet who remain here illegally.

The aim is not to separate families, Morgan told CBS's "Face the Nation," and he gave an example:

The men and women of ICE, they -- they are true American heroes. They're mothers. They are fathers, brothers, and sisters. They're going to apply this with humanity and compassion.

There's a whole host of scenarios that could go. I'll give you an example, for one.

If they run across a mother who came here illegally, had due process, had an order of removal, but she's currently in her third trimester of pregnancy, of course they're not going to apprehend that individual.

They're going to give her a paper, a notice to appear and then come back later, when it's appropriate.

Morgan said one of the largest "pull factors" for migrants is the idea that once you get into this country, you'll be allowed to stay.

He said that's why he supports the enforcement of deportation orders:

"I support this 100 percent. This is an essential consequence that we need to apply to help take that element away, that pull factor, so they'll stop making the dangerous trek and risking their lives."

Morgan put some of the blame on Congress for refusing to do anything about the massive inflow of illegal aliens and asylum-seekers who do not meet the asylum criteria.

"What I will tell you is that we absolutely have a crisis on the border, 100 percent. And Congress -- I  can tell you unequivocally, Congress has failed to do what they need to do to address this crisis.

"We've been pleading with them, Margaret, for a long time, and we've been on the Hill asking for a long time, you fix the Flores settlement agreement, you fix the TVPRA, catch and release, and 85 percent of this crisis ends the next day. That's what we need Congress to do on a bipartisan effort."

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