(CNSNews.com) - Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan clarified Sunday in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union with Jake Tapper” that the so-called raids on food processing plants in Mississippi that led to 680 arrests weren’t actually raids - they were “targeted law enforcement operations” focused on work sites.
“You and the president said just a few weeks ago that the pending ICE raids coming down the pike were going to be really focused on violent criminals. That is not what happened here in Mississippi. Why not?“ CNN’s Jake Tapper asked.
“Well, so, first of all, I never said that the raids, as you call, were focused on violent criminals. I have never said that, and, also, I think words matter. These aren't raids. These are targeted law enforcement operations,” Morgan said.
“And, in this case, this was a joint criminal investigation with ICE and the Department of Justice targeting work site enforcement, meaning companies that knowingly and willfully hire illegal aliens, so that, in most cases, they can pay them reduced wages, exploit them further for their bottom line. That is what this investigation was about, a criminal investigation,” he said.
“But just to give your exact quote -- you're right, you didn't say violent,” Tapper said. “You said -- quote -- ‘Their part has always been and it will be to go after those that are criminal aliens, meaning those people that are here illegally and have committed additional crimes against American citizens.’”|
“So that was my response to a question about priorities, and that ICE's priorities will always be to go after criminal aliens as a priority. That doesn't mean they exclude all demographics. We still have to apply consequences, meaning enforce the rule of law, for those individuals that are here illegally against immigration law,” Morgan said.
When asked whether there were any charges against the companies or business owners, Morgan said, “It is a pending investigation right now. There was a criminal search warrant to go in there to collect more information, more intelligence, and that investigation is ongoing, but that is the intent of that investigation.
“Is it important for businesses to not employ these individuals who are in this country illegally and exploit them, as you suggested?” Tapper asked.
“Absolutely, and -- but it is twofold. So I think the American people need to understand that is exactly what is happening. So these individuals seeking a better life first are being exploited by the cartels to come here,” Morgan said.
“Once they come in the United States, then they're further exploited by United States companies by paying them reduced wages, but that is only the first element of this. These individuals here and the girl -- I know it is emotional. I know it is done on purpose to show a picture like that,” he said.
“What is done on purpose?” Tapper asked.
“But -- to show the girl. Jake, listen…” Morgan said.
“But the people in the wake of these raids. We interview people who are affected by them,” Tapper said.
“But how about interview the people that -- because a majority of time in these cases, these individuals that are here illegally, they also steal identities of U.S. citizens, they get fraudulent documents, Social Security cards and et cetera, and so it is not just a victimless crime that is going on here,” Morgan said.
“First of all, they are here illegally, and then a lot of times, there is additional fraud that goes with this for them to try to get these jobs in the companies. So I understand that the girl is upset, and I get that, but her father committed a crime, and just so the American people know also, is that girl, her mother was home, and she was reunited with her mother within a few hours that night,” he said.