Trump’s nominee for ICE director once said he can tell whether migrant children will join the gang MS-13 by looking into their eyes

  • President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency once said he could tell by looking in migrant children’s eyes that they would be a “soon-to-be MS-13 gang member.”
  • Morgan made the comments in a January Fox News interview, and has made roughly 80 appearances on the network in the last five months, according to a HuffPost analysis of his media appearances.
  • The ex-Border Patrol chief also lauded Trump for calling MS-13 members “animals,” saying the president was “absolutely correct.”
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President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is drawing scrutiny for once saying he could tell by looking in migrant children’s eyes whether they would join the MS-13 street gang.

Mark Morgan, the nominee for ICE director and an ex-Border Patrol chief, told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson in a January 2019 interview that he often encountered migrant children in detention centres that he suspected of being future gang members.

“I’ve been to detention facilities where I’ve walked up to these individuals that are so-called ‘minors’ – 17 or under – 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.”

Morgan’s comments resurfaced this week in a HuffPost analysis of Morgan’s roughly 80 Fox News appearances in the last five months. The outlet suggested that Morgan’s frequent public praise of Trump on his favourite network may have caught Trump’s attention.

ICE did not immediately respond to INSIDER’s request for comment on Morgan’s remarks.

Read more: The Trump administration’s tough border policies could be worsening a thriving black market of smugglers that’s only growing more sophisticated, experts say

Morgan also applauded Trump for calling MS-13 members ‘animals’

In that same January interview with Carlson, Morgan also lauded Trump for calling MS-13 members “animals,” even though his remarks attracted some backlash at the time.

“I know this may be controversial, but when the president referred to them as animals, I absolutely said that was correct,” Morgan said.

During testimony in April before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Morgan doubled down in front of lawmakers on his concerns that migrant children could be recruited by gangs.

“MS-13 is one of the most violent and prolific transnational gangs the US [has] ever seen,” he said in prepared testimony, as Politico reported. “And the influx of minors into the country through the current crisis will provide them with unlimited vulnerable prospects.”

Trump announced Morgan as the ICE nominee in a May 5 tweet. It’s not yet clear when he will undergo a confirmation hearing in the Senate.