Produced by Yasmeen Qureshi
“Through Her Eyes” is a new weekly half-hour show hosted by humanitarian and women’s rights activist Zainab Salbi that aims to explore a hot button news issue through the lens of a female newsmaker. You can watch the full episode of “Through Her Eyes” every Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Roku, or at the bottom of this article.
Sarah Saldaña, the former director of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, has dealt with some of the most hot button issues roiling Washington today. And she’s skeptical of President Trump’s proposed border wall, which he has demanded in exchange for ending the government shutdown.
“We have to focus on the true threats. And the true threat is not a mother or child at the border. That is not a true threat. It’s not a mother or child or a family in the interior,” she told the Yahoo News series “Through Her Eyes.”
“The true threats are those persons who come to do harm to our country, … and that’s a very small number compared to the number of people who seek entry. This is why the wall that is being proposed, enforcement-wise, makes so little sense.”
Saldaña pointed out that most people in the United States without authorization entered legally, but then overstayed their visas. “I don’t know who is telling the president that this is a good idea. Because you always weigh these measures by effectiveness and cost,” she said.
But Saldaña, who served under President Barack Obama, was even more blunt in her assessment of the progressive-backed campaign to abolish ICE.
“That’s not a difficult question at all. The answer is no,” she said when asked if her former agency should be scrapped.
She continued: “That makes no sense. It’s a simplistic slogan that really doesn’t address the issue.”
In the interview, Saldaña also opened up about her son, who died in a 2016 motorcycle accident. And Saldaña, the first Latina to head ICE, discussed the discrimination she faced in that role.
“There were a couple… that really bothered me. I can’t deny it,” she recalled. “The one about ‘What is a spic doing on the Senate floor?’ when I went through my confirmation process. The other one was, ‘Go back to your country.’ These are all implications that someone of Hispanic heritage cannot enforce laws. I think I’ve proven them otherwise.”