President Donald Trump's nominee to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement once said he can tell if an illegal immigrant child will become a gang member just by looking at him, according to Politico.
The nominee, Mark Morgan, made the comments during an interview with Tucker Carlson in January. The remarks resurfaced this week when HuffPost took a look back at public statements Morgan has made in the past.
Morgan was the head of Border Patrol under former President Barack Obama, a longtime FBI agent and director focusing on illegal immigration issues, and a former police officer after he started his career off with 11 years in the Marines.
"I've been to detention facilities where I've walked up to these individuals that are so-called minors, 17 or under," Morgan told Carlson. "I've looked at them and I've looked at their eyes, Tucker — and I've said that is a soon-to-be MS-13 gang member. It's unequivocal."
Earlier in the same interview, Morgan said he remembers listening in on MS-13 phone calls during which the gang members would laugh about how easy it is to go back and forth across the U.S.-Mexico border, and called the immigration system "broken."
Is an immigration loophole letting MS-13 members go free? youtu.be
The reminder about Morgan's comment brought criticism from pro-immigrant groups.
"The hateful rhetoric, it hits close to home for many of our members," said Sanaa Abrar, advocacy director for United We Dream. "We have members of our own community who have been racially profiled and detained as a result of this administration's policies."
Morgan headed up Border Patrol for the final six months of Obama's presidency, and was removed by Pres. Trump early in his term. He is a supporter of the border wall, and was announced as the ICE director nominee earlier this month. He is awaiting Senate confirmation.