ICE Director Who Said Immigrant Jails Are Like Summer Camps Leaves Post After COVID-19 Disagreements With Trump Administration

Matthew ALbence has been serving as the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for over a year. He’s described the prisons where immigrant families are being held as the equivalent of a summer camp. Now he’s retiring, after disagreeing with Donald Trump’s administration on how the COVID-19 pandemic should be handled in detainment facilities.

ICE director to retire after COVID compassion
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

As reported by the Daily Kos, Albence made himself particularly controversial, over and above his involvement with the family separation policy and ICE’s detainment facilities in general, by excusing the whole system, describing it as no worse than a trip to summer camp. Pressed by legislators in a congressional hearing, he refused to answer questions from multiple legislators about whether he’d send his own child there. Shown a photo of a child crying as she was separated from her parents, and asked what he’d tell that child, he responded, “Well, I don’t think I’d speak to the little girl.”

Despite all that, Politico reports, the Trump administration found his response to the COVID-19 pandemic excessively humanitarian. While he halted most ICE enforcement efforts, the Trump administration reportedly saw the pandemic as an excuse to crack down.

Albence announced on Friday morning that he would be retiring, and that through August he would transition out of his current role. THe Washington Post reports that it isn’t clear who will be moved into his current role. There’s no immediate successor for the position, and ICE officials contacted after Albence’s announcement of his impending retirement could not say who might be a candidate.

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