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Trump Attends Fundraiser for Architect of His ‘Family Separation’ Policy

Former US President Trump (Credits: ABC News)

Since President Trump departed from office in 2021, his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida has become a regular hub for fundraising events backing Republican candidates and causes.

This week, attendees dug deep, shelling out up to $100,000 to support an organization aligned with a hot-button issue for Republican voters: immigration and the border.

Trump attended a fundraiser on Thursday at Mar-a-Lago for the Border911 foundation. The nonprofit, founded last year by Thomas Homan, a former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), was instrumental in implementing and overseeing the controversial “family separation policy” during the Trump administration. Homan remains a steadfast Trump supporter.

Donald Trump (Credits: ABC News)

“We have to be very careful. We have to straighten out the border. We’re going to close the border. According to social media footage from the event, we’re going to let people into our country, but they have to come in legally,” Trump asserted.

The policy resulted in the separation of around 5,000 children from adult family members detained for criminal prosecution under the Trump-era “zero tolerance” policy.

Although a federal judge eventually halted the separations, some children remain unreunited with their families. Recent polling in battleground states indicates Trump’s lead, with immigration playing an important role.

Republicans See Opportunity in President Biden’s Declining Popularity Among Voters

Republicans perceive an opportunity in President Biden’s flagging popularity among voters concerning the border issue. While Trump has been cautious about reinstating family separation, he spoke at a rally in Wisconsin this week about crimes allegedly committed by migrants, citing “an invasion of our country.”

In a written statement, Trump spokesperson Karoline Leavitt warned, “The millions of illegals Biden has resettled across America should not get comfortable because very soon they will be going home.”

“Immediately upon President Trump’s return to the Oval Office, he will restore all of his prior policies, implement brand new crackdowns that will send shockwaves to all the world’s criminal smugglers, and marshal every federal and state power necessary to institute the largest deportation operation in American history,” Leavitt declared.

Immigration advocates and Biden supporters criticized Trump’s appearance alongside figures such as Homan, who they say oversaw a particularly cruel policy. “They don’t talk about family separation, but with this event, he’s saying it out loud that he is for this type of cruelty,” said Beatriz Lopez, deputy director of the advocacy group Immigration Hub.

“He will round up and deport people who are here and have been contributing to this country… He will restore all the cruel policies of the past that most voters soundly rejected.” They also condemned the presumptive Republican nominee’s views and rhetoric, stating they incite fear among Americans and foster division.

Joe Biden (Credits: The New Yorker)

“Trump demonizes immigrants, calling them ‘animals’ and saying they are ‘poisoning the blood of the nation,’” said Biden campaign co-chair Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas). “He isn’t interested in real solutions to fix our broken immigration system — he’s focused on turning people against one another and stirring up hate because he believes it will help him politically.”

According to his campaign, Trump aims to end birthright citizenship for children of immigrants lacking legal status and limit their access to passports and Social Security numbers. He also seeks to issue an executive order stipulating that children born in the U.S. must have at least one American citizen parent to become citizens themselves.

Homan and Border911 representatives did not respond to requests for comment. However, their objective, according to the group’s website, “is to educate Americans on the facts of border security so they can make an informed decision.”

ABC News reported last month that the event’s goal was to raise funds for a tour of battleground states ahead of the November election. Ticket prices ranged from $1,200 to $100,000. “VIP Tickets” promised a “photo op with Border911 team and special guests,” but the event was sold out, according to the group’s website.

Homan previously hosted a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago in 2023 for an organization supporting individuals arrested for participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection. With most of his career focused on border enforcement, Homan was described by The Atlantic as the “father” of the family separation policy. As of last summer, researchers found that about 1,000 children had not been reunited with their parents or family.

Homan, who campaigned with Trump during the primaries, defended the policy, arguing it was a deterrent against illegal border crossings. “I’m sick and tired hearing about the family separation,” The Hill reported Homan as saying last year at a conservative political event. “You know, I’m still being sued over that, so come get me. … Bottom line is, we enforced the law.”

“When I was a cop in New York, and I arrested a father for domestic violence, or someone for [driving under the influence], I separated that family,” he added later. “When you violate the law with a child, you’re going to be separated.”

Judge Dana Sabraw Greenlights Settlement Between ACLU and Federal Government

In December, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw approved a settlement between the American Civil Liberties Union and the federal government, blocking the separation of families for immigration purposes for eight years.

Sabraw had previously ordered an end to separations and demanded family reunification. The practice was deemed “brutal, offensive, and failing to comply with traditional notions of fair play and decency,” Sabraw wrote.

While the federal government is still permitted to separate children in limited cases, such as when a parent poses a threat or is convicted of serious crimes, immigration advocates remain wary. Todd Schulte, president of, expressed concern over Trump’s repeated disregard for the rule of law and his desire to reduce border crossings and deport individuals without legal status.

“That [ACLU] settlement is key, and it’s important. It’s the law,” Schulte emphasized. “But there are so many horrible things that President Trump and his team have promised to do. There’s every reason to ask, would they do this again?”

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