Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar excused former President Barack Obama for implementing the same immigration and border security policies that she has been criticizing President Donald Trump for enforcing.
“You know, even now, when we think about policies that are happening at the border, you know, some people will say those were Obama’s polices, and I say yes and no,” Omar said on Wednesday while appearing on BET’s ‘Black Coffee.’
Omar has been an outspoken detractor of Trump’s immigration policies, especially regarding the separation of children and parents after they are detained for illegally crossing the border and entering the United States.
However, the federal courts during the Obama administration ruled that the government is prohibited from detaining children for longer than 20 days. Since the 20-day window is generally not long enough to process the detained immigrants, children and their accompanying adults are consequently separated as not to violate what is referred to as the Flores Settlement Agreement.
“[Obama] might have thought that there was an easier path to dealing with the crisis by sort of implementing for a short period of time policies that he couldn’t have the foresight that the next person who was going to come in was going to take it to a monstrous level,” Omar said. “That is sometimes what we get.”
“When we open the door, we allow — yeah, you open the door to darkness, a monster will come out,” she continued. “That’s how some of these policies have really deadly impacts on our lives, and some of these policy makers don’t get to worry about that or care about that.”
Omar walked back comments in March after she faced widespread backlash within her own party for stating that Obama was responsible for the “caging of kids” at the U.S.-Mexico border. She later claimed that reporters “distort words” and released audio of the interview, which subsequently confirmed that she stated Obama was responsible for the caging of kids.
“That’s what you get with people like [Democratic California] Sen. [Kamala] Harris and [Former] Secretary [of Housing and Urban Development Julian] Castro,” Omar said. “There are people who are like, ‘Listen, there was this one policy, you voted for it, you championed it. This is now what it means.’”
“Like, can we have an accountability for how this was impactful for our communities?” she continued. “We’ve never really gotten that on a national stage at a presidential debate level.”
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