'I’ve looked at their eyes': Trump's new pick for border commissioner made disturbing and bigoted remarks about migrant kids

'I’ve looked at their eyes': Trump's new pick for border commissioner made disturbing and bigoted remarks about migrant kids
PBS NewsHour

Mark Morgan, who has been serving as the acting head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, will now be taking over as acting commissioner of Customs and Border Patrol, according to multiple news reports.


Morgan is a close ally of Trump, and he'll replace John Sanders, who resigned for unclear reasons this week. But CBP has come under intense scrutiny as first-hand accounts published in recent days revealed that the agency was keeping migrant children in abominable conditions, often lacking in basic necessities like adult supervision, toothbrushes, and bathing facilities.

Don't count on Morgan to make it a priority to rectify these horrifying failures, however. Like the president, he's a fierce immigration hardliner who expresses little empathy for the plight of immigrants.

As Politico reporter Natasha Bertrand pointed out Wednesday on the news of Morgan's appointment, Morgan has previously made disturbing comments about migrant kids in U.S. custody.

“I’ve been to detention facilities where I’ve walked up to these individuals that are so-called minors, 17 or under,” he said on a Fox News segment in January with host Tucker 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."

Of course, anyone 17 under is a minor, so Morgans reference to "so-called" minors is dripping with blatant animus. He is clearly trying to convince listeners that they shouldn't have any empathy or compassion for the children held by the United States government, a terrifying attitude for someone who serves as an official with authority over their lives. In fact, his claim that he can look into the eyes of migrant children and know — unequivocally, he said — that they are going to be a member of the gang MS-13 can't be called anything short of unapologetic racism.

It's particularly disturbing, then, that he can continue to be shuffled through the Department of Homeland Security without actually being scrutinized and challenged by the Senate before a confirmation vote.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.