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Kelly Confirms Separating Moms and Kids Being Considered as Immigration Deterrent

A Border Patrol agent looks out a water drain tunnel that runs from Mexico into Nogales, Ariz. (Photo by Josh Denmark/U.S. Border Patrol)

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said he’s considering a proposal to separate mothers and children who have crossed the border illegally, underscoring he “would do almost anything to deter the people from Central America to getting on this very, very dangerous network that brings them up through Mexico into the United States.”

“And I would underline that Mexicans are after this network in the same way we are. It’s extremely dangerous,” Kelly told CNN on Monday.

“I wouldn’t say 100 percent, but certainly in the high 90 percent — and this is by the social service organizations that inform me from Central America, that the vast majority of the young women, all women are sexually abused along this trip,” he added.

Kelly said his department has “tremendous experience in dealing with unaccompanied minors.”

“We turn them over to [Health and Human Services] and they do a very, very good job of either putting them in kind of foster care or linking them up with parents or family members in the United States,” he said. “Yes, I am considering, in order to deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network, I am considering exactly that. They will be well cared for as we deal with their parents.”

Asked how the act of separating moms and kids looks, Kelly argued “it’s more important… to try to keep people off of this awful network.”

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) said on the caucus’ Facebook page today that “to separate children from their mothers as a deterrent policy is heinous.”

“It questions basic human rights and our country’s moral standing in the world. There are better, more sensible immigration procedures that protect families while they proceed through the asylum application process,” the congresswoman said.