- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Alejandro Mayorkas, President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s pick to lead Homeland Security in the new administration, acknowledged Tuesday that the so-called “cages” where migrant children were held on the border were first erected under President Barack Obama.

Mr. Mayorkas was deputy secretary at Homeland Security during the 2014 and 2015 border surges, when the chain-link enclosures were built.

Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, asked him if those were the same enclosures that the Trump administration took heat for in 2018 and 2019, during a later border surge.

“Yes sir,” Mr. Mayorkas said.

But he rejected Mr. Johnson’s accusation that families were separated during the Obama years, saying he “explicitly rejected” that idea when he was the department deputy.

The chain-link pens were erected because of the number of children who began to arrive at the border, overwhelming facilities that weren’t prepared to hold them. The fencing was built to create spaces where they could be held.

Photos of the fenced-in areas became a divisive point during the Trump-era border surge, when the president’s critics claimed the children were being put in “cages.”

Mr. Biden has distanced himself from the enforcement record he and Mr. Obama oversaw during their eight years in office.

He has promised to pursue a speedy legalization of nearly all illegal immigrants, including those who jumped the border during his time in office and again under President Trump.

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