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Former AG Eric Holder: The Obama Admin Never Had a ‘Policy’ Of Separating Families at the Border

On Monday night, Former Attorney General Eric Holder appeared on The Late Show and weighed in, among many things, on the Trump administration’s widely unpopular policy of separating illegal immigrant families at the border.

Stephen Colbert invoked current Attorney General Jeff Session‘s “zero tolerance” policy that they had implemented in the spring as a deterrent for illegal immigration.

But then then turned to policy under the Obama administration.

“People said that the Obama Administration separated families and they certainly deported more people than anybody had up to that moment. Is it true that, under the Obama Administration, that families were separated as well?” Colbert asked.

“There might have been family separations, but it was not as a matter of policy into the extent that it did happen,” Holder responded. “There were attempts made by putting these things together called- it didn’t work out too well, called ‘family detention centers’ so that people who were detained could be with their families. What’s different about this policy, as you said, the administration said made the determination that they want to use this ‘zero tolerance’ policy, knowing that this would mean the separation of children from people who are charged with misdemeanor crimes and use this as a matter policy as a way to deter people from coming to the United States. It’s inhumane, it’s cruel, it’s un-American, it’s inconsistent with who we say we are as a nation.”

Colbert then invoked a remark Holder had made about Sessions and that he needs to have some “guts” to say no to Trump.

“When did you say no to Barack Obama?” Colbert asked.

“I can’t reveal that just yet,” Holder initially said.

But then, he had a different response.

“Interestingly, I didn’t really ever have to say no to President Obama because he understood that the Justice Department has to be independent of the White House,” Holder elaborated. “There has to be a certain independence there, a certain wall between those two buildings.”

Watch the clip above, via CBS.

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