ICE chief: Parents who break the law are responsible for separations

ICE chief: Parents who break the law are responsible for separations
© Greg Nash
The country's top immigration enforcement official said Tuesday that undocumented parents who enter the U.S. illegally are to blame if they're later separated from their children.
Speaking on CNN, Thomas Homan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), defended the Trump administration's policy of zero tolerance for illegal border crossings.
"The parents need to make a clear choice: Enter through a port of entry, you won't be separated," said Homan. "If anybody's to blame for that child being taken away, it's the parent that chose, 'I'm gonna break the law rather than go to a port of entry."
More than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents since Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Democrat stalls Biden's border nominee Garland strikes down Trump-era immigration court rule, empowering judges to pause cases MORE announced the policy last month. Separations have resulted since minors cannot be legally housed in the same facilities as adults who are facing criminal prosecution.
Previous administrations waived prosecution of first-time illegal border crossers, both because of the resulting family separations and to avoid overcrowding the courts.
When asked whether he thinks the new policy is humane, Homan paused and said, "I think it's the law."
"I think what's inhumane is parents that choose to put their kids in the hands of a smuggling organization," said Homan, who is retiring at the end of the month.
He added that parents seeking asylum with their children should enter through designated ports of entry.
"Don't make your kids cross that river," he said. "Make your kids walk into that port of entry with you where there's air conditioning, there's people there to greet you, there's people there to hear your case."