No, Democrats Aren’t Responsible For Trump’s Family Separation Policy
President Trump and his supporters are blaming the policy of separating parents and children at the border on Democrats. This is, simply put, a lie.
President Trump is blaming Democrats for the lack of action on the policy established by his Administration that is resulting in thousands of children being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexican border, and it’s an argument that is predictably being repeated by Republicans on Capitol Hill and pundits in the media. There’s just one problem, it’s completely untrue:
WASHINGTON — President Trump on Saturday repeated his false assertion that Democrats were responsible for his administration’s policy of separating migrant families apprehended at the border, sticking to a weekslong refusal to publicly accept responsibility for a widely condemned practice that has become a symbol of his crackdown on illegal immigration.
“Democrats can fix their forced family breakup at the Border by working with Republicans on new legislation, for a change!” Mr. Trump said in a morning post on Twitter.
It came the day after his administration said that it had taken nearly 2,000 children away from their parents in a six-week period ending last month, as part of a new “zero tolerance” policy that refers for criminal prosecution all immigrants apprehended crossing the border without authorization.
The White House defended the practice this week, saying the president was merely enforcing the law. And in recent speeches around the country, Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, has made a spirited case for it, arguing that a strict approach is a vital tool for deterrence.
But Mr. Trump has steadfastly tried to deflect blame for the separation of children from their parents, consistently dissembling about why it is occurring. His comments are the latest example of his asking the public to discount what it sees with its own eyes and instead believe his own self-serving version of reality. They also reflect how politically poisonous the issue has become, as photographs and news articles circulate about the effects of the practice.
“I hate the children being taken away,” Mr. Trump told reporters on Friday in front of the White House during a 45-minute impromptu question-and-answer session on a wide range of topics. “The Democrats have to change their law — that’s their law.”
In fact, there is no law that requires families to be separated at the border. There is a law against “improper entry” at the border, as well as a consent decree known as the Flores settlement that limits to 20 days the amount of time that migrant children may be held in immigration detention, which a federal judge ruled in 2016 also applies to families. A 2008 anti-trafficking statute — signed into law by a Republican president, George W. Bush — also requires that certain unaccompanied alien minors be transferred out of immigration detention in 72 hours. None of those laws or precedents mean that children must be taken away from their parents.
An official from the Department of Homeland Security who insisted on anonymity to discuss the policy said on Friday that there are, in fact, exceptions for babies, but could not provide an age cutoff above which a child may be taken from his or her parent. Data reviewed by The New York Times in April indicated that of more than 700 children separated from their parents since October, over 100 had been under the age of 4.
“The loopholes, both legal and judicial, are now wholly owned and belong to Democrats,” Stephen Miller, the president’s senior policy adviser and top immigration hand, said in a recent interview, “because they alone oppose their changing.”
“No one in our government is willing to take moral lectures from people who support and perpetuate policies that grievously harm innocent Americans,” Mr. Miller added.
Mr. Trump, however, has not tried to justify the family separation policy, preferring to pretend that it is being forced upon him by his political rivals, and sometimes to ignore it altogether. While the president’s Saturday radio address was about the need to pass legislation — slated for votes in the House next week — that would overhaul immigration laws, he never mentioned the zero tolerance policy that has led to immigrant children being separated from their parents.
Here are Trump’s Tweets on this issue:
The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda. Any Immigration Bill MUST HAVE full funding for the Wall, end Catch & Release, Visa Lottery and Chain, and go to Merit Based Immigration. Go for it! WIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2018
Democrats can fix their forced family breakup at the Border by working with Republicans on new legislation, for a change! This is why we need more Republicans elected in November. Democrats are good at only three things, High Taxes, High Crime and Obstruction. Sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2018
Until the “zero tolerance” policy was announced in May by Attorney General Sessions, the policy of the Federal Government under preceding Administrations was that children and family members would not be separated at the border. Instead, they would either be placed in a detention center that catered to families or they would be released with a notice to return at a later date for a hearing on their status. In that regard, it should be noted that, over the years, 99% of the people claiming asylum who were given such notices returned for the hearing, thus refuting the argument that has been made by some on the right that this amounted to a “catch and release” policy under which people simply disappear and never show up for their hearing. Prior to early May and the implementation of the new policy, the majority of the children held in a detention facility designed for children were those who arrived at the border alone or with people who were not family members. That policy was required pursuant to a law that was passed in 2008 under the Administration of George W. Bush restricts how authorities can treat those who arrive at the border from nations other than Canada and Mexico, and even further restricts the government’s discretion with regard to children who arrive from those nations without a parent or other family member. Under that law, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, unaccompanied minor children from one of these “noncontiguous nations” cannot simply be deported immediately the way a minor from Mexico or Canada can be. Instead, they must be taken into custody and processed through the immigration system to determine whether or not they are eligible for asylum under the U.S. law. Since it seems obvious that unaccompanied minors cannot simply be released into the general population unless they have family members who can be located in the United States, the unfortunate result of this is that these children would have to be placed in some kind of mass detention facility. In other words, the claims of the Trump Administration and its supporters that current American law requires the separation of children from their parents is a lie.
Even if this assertion were true, though, the further representation by President Trump, his Administration, or his supporters that Democrats are responsible for the current policy and that only they can change it is an even more ridiculous lie. First of all, the only provision of Federal law that even comes close to governing this issue is a law that was passed under a Republican President whose primary aim was to combat cross-border trafficking in children and women for illegal purposes, including prostitution. Second, the Congress is currently controlled by Republicans. If they wanted to pass a law tomorrow barring the Administration from separating families at the border, they could easily do so. A clean bill on such an issue would pass the House with nearly unanimous support from House Democrats and would obviously receive enough support in the Senate to get past the sixty votes necessary to invoke cloture and avoid a filibuster. Finally, the Administration itself could stop this policy today with the simple stroke of a pen, just as they began it six weeks ago when Attorney General Sessions announced the new policy.
This is on your shoulders, President Trump and the rest of the Republican Party. You can stop it immediately if you want to.
Political Cartoon by Rob Rogers, formerly employed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
So much for Truman’s “The buck stops here”.
For Trump & his tweets “The truth dies here”.
For once in my life I’m with Robert P. George:
Not to mention that placing children in foster care is a much different scenario than placing them in prison.
This is politically stupid too. Trump could go on tv right now and tell an easy lie and say “I have decided that the foul Democrat law separating families who are trying to escape the murderous savages of MS-13 is simply unamerican. We must not be like Hillary and tear children from their mothers! So I’m ordering ICE (or whoever) to reunite these poor scared children with their families while we process their situations. MAGA!” and he’d get a shit-ton of fawning press.
@Neil Hudelson: And of course one of the big motivators for criminal justice reform in this country is that it too often results in children being placed in foster care while their mom is locked up for 5 years for selling a dime bag. This is something liberals have been fighting for years.
Donny and Melania dined last night at the Trump International Hotel, where they were greeted by a throng of admirers. Trump was in ecstasy, especially when some woman yelled: “Give him the Nobel Prize.”
My immediate thought was: “Somebody called Rent-a-Mob.”
@teve tory: It’s comparing apples and oranges. The vast majority of people who are incarcerated are done so at a state level for violations of state law. The federal government has little to no control over that process or the social services result to the children of those incarcerated.
The federal government is in complete control of what happens to federal immigration detainees who aren’t even lucky enough to be subjected to an Article III court.
Additionally, when a parent is convicted of a crime and imprisoned one of two things happens to any child they may have:
1. They are placed with the other parent or another family member presuming that it is deemed to be a safe and in the best interests of the child; or,
2. They are placed into foster care and, eventually, with a foster family.
They are not placed in mass detention facilities.
@CSK: The best cartoonist in the world thinks trump deserves a Nobel because it’ll own the Libs
@Timothy Watson: Oh I know, it’s just more dumb Whataboutism. Trump’s defenders don’t have a lot in their arsenal.
Trump has higher priorities though. Read his tweets, he thinks gratuitous cruelty to children is a workable extortion tactic to get funding for his wall that he promised to his base.
Franklin Graham was on CBN earlier in the week denouncing the policy as unchristian. This was remarkable, as he’s a bootlicker for Trump and the GOP. Apparently the bat signal got sent out he had stepped in it, so his position on the issue puts the blame squarely on the democrat party in subsequent statements.
Does he get “Get out of Hell” cards free or something?
Yes, Trump has gone from promising Mexico would pay for the wall, to tearing families apart to hold children for ransom in a ploy to get American taxpayers to buy his wall.
And still his cult cries, “Yay!”
@Charon: I think that was the plan, but the coverage went hard against him, shit, even some of the religious groups are denouncing it (as becca points out). Hence his sudden desperate claim that it was Democrats’ fault. Right now, dem congresspeople are going to detention centers and being denied entry and posting images and video on twitter. The coverage I’m seeing is strongly negative toward Trump. He could stop it immediately and get praise from the supplicant media, but so far he’s too dumb to do that.
I looked around Garrison’s website. He’s endorsed by Alex Jones.
@CSK: He’s an extremely stupid Trumper lunatic. I find it darkly hilarious.
tell me this isn’t some funny shit!
Yes, but not in the way you think.
Politicians tend to try to be popular with as many people as possible. Trump stops at his base. For him ,the best case scenario si what he has now: he can be cruel and terrible to immigrants, and have his base lay the blame on the other party.
The oddity here is the rest of the GOP is playing along. If they’re that terrified of the Trumpian base, they should leave the party. I didn’t expect them to go against Trump, but I expected them to stay silent, not to be supportive.
The irony is that this dumbass could have gotten the money by accepting the DACA deal.
Trump is such a **** negotiator. His only tactic is try to bully his opposition into concessions by holding stuff (in this case, kids) ransom. That may have work dealing with contractors, who just get tried of your bullshit, but that doesn’t work in politics.
We are six months till the mid-terms, do you really think Democrats are going to hand you a win that would piss off their base?
Oh I know he only cares about the base, but it’s not even working with all of them. Like becca pointed out even Franklin Graham has talked shit about this. I met a guy a couple years ago who gleefully bragged to me “Finally we’re gonna have a president with the BALLS to drag ten million of ’em outta here kickin and screamin!” and I’m sure those types love this, but it seems like even among Trump’s base there are some people who at least like having some cover for acting like assholes, and this policy is too nakedly shitty. He could end this and still keep the base with some simple lies about “This is all the dems fault” “Obama caused this unnecessary suffering but I’ll make it better” as long as he said they’ll still be deported but kept together until then etc.
I wonder if Trump has that crap framed and hanging in the Oval Office.
@CSK: The depiction of Barack as being unable to spell basic words compared to trump’s perfect cursive handwriting has me literally laughing out loud. 😛 It’s impossible to tell if Garrison is a Poe. I love how his Trump is fit and muscular.
He’s been a Michael Corleone wannabe all his life, that’s all he knows to be: Making offers that can’t be refused (he thinks).
GOP primaries are being won by whoever seems most pro-Trump which makes them sycophant competitions. Staying silent is risky for people who might better be flattering.
I noticed that right away. His Trump is fit and trim, and wearing a reasonably well-tailored suit, or at least better tailored than Trump ever manages. But the really ludicrous part, as you say, was the the statement that Obama can’t spell and Trump can.
You’re an optimist. Tearing families apart is nothing to the Trump Cult so long as the children are brown. On the contrary, they’re loving it. A few may make vague mooing noises, but none will leave the cult. Right now, today, you could get at least half of Republicans to agree to gassing these kids. And no, that’s not an exaggeration.
People who vote for an openly racist, misogynist, corrupt, treasonous pig like Trump are not going to be swayed by appeals to decency or morality. Decency and morality are just ‘political correctness’ to them. Concern for children is just an attack on Cult Leader because to a Trumpaloon everything is an attack on the cult. I’m not saying we won’t peel off a handful of voters, but it won’t be a significant number. This is their big racist moment, their White Power triumph. They’re not ashamed of this, they’re excited.
@teve tory: please these children have been used as a pawn. They aren’t in prison.
You support putting them in an adult holding center.
They are fed housed and attend school.
We don’t even know if their mothers are there mothers.
It’s called don’t enter the country with you children illegally.
Get a hold of yourself as you send your legal children to summer camp because you want them to socialize.
Steve Bannon is defending Trump on this. He must be desperate to get back into Trump’s good graces.
I’m well aware that the modern GOP is full of stupid people with shitty values. I might have even said something like that once or twice. But I do think a small number could matter. Trump, like GWB in 2000, only got in by the skin of his teeth due to a few thousand votes in specific rural areas our system is biased towards. How much of his 46% of voters can he lose and still be viable? IDK, but it’s interesting to ponder. And in 2020 a not insignificant amount of that 46% will have aged out of the voting pool, to put it euphemistically.
please these children have been used as a pawn. They aren’t in prison.
These children accompanied parents who were following the rules to seek asylum. They are in prison or in concentration camps.
You support putting them in an adult holding center.
They are fed housed and attend school.
Says you, you do not know that.
We don’t even know if their mothers are there mothers.
It’s called don’t enter the country with you children illegally.
Which they did not do, their parents followed the rules for seeking asylum.
I’m not worried about Trump being re-elected, I think the odds of that are in the 10% range. Trump is not what made me turn on this country: it’s the Trump supporters who nauseate me. I had clung to the fanciful notion that Americans were better than this, but we are not. Americans are as willing to surrender their alleged beliefs as any other nationality, as easily manipulated, as ignorant and as cruel as any other people. American exceptionalism was already hanging by a thread but the Trump voters cut that thread.
I will never again be able to have any confidence in my fellow Americans. My remaining naiveté and optimism died when 46% of Americans voted to put a vile racist pig in the White House. I had that last little bit of ‘faith,’ faith in my own people, but I should have known better. I should have been more rigorous. Mea culpa. It had not occurred to me that I was actually not enough of a cynic about my fellow Americans.
@Connie: Hey Connie — When you download the list of propaganda talking points, you’re supposed to form them into sentences that sound like they’re coming from a human being, not simply retype them.
And on the really insane ones like “summer camp,” you’re supposed to make up an anecdote illustrating the point, not just echo whatever you were told to say.
If you’re going to be a Trump-sucking troll, you need to learn how to do it right. Try reading Mbungles for pro tips.
@Michael Reynolds: I’ve spent most of my life in the Deep South so I’ve always been aware of who these people are. But it’s not a majority of americans, and they’re mostly in a demographic which is exiting Stage Left. The time I spent in 3 college towns in North Carolina and a while in Washington State I was surrounded by a much better class of human, and I’m working on getting back to that. Either Washington State again, or Colorado. It would be California but I just can’t swing the expenses. I’m not giving up on America just because a few thousand dipshits happened to be in the right particular agricultural wastelands to count extra.
Not disputing your sentiment, but it was 46% of voters, which is about 19% of the populace. Call me a cockeyed optimist.
Seriously? I don’t see any happy outcome. We’re too radically divided.
Trump is the dying, desperate backlash from the racists after Obama. If Dems run a popular, qualified woman in 2020 and win, god only knows what the backlash would look like in 2028. The Republicans would probably nominate Eric Greitens.
Again, I have to point out that “46% of Americans” didn’t vote for him, 46% of those who voted did. The actual percentage of the American populace as a whole who voted for Trump is just under 20%.
Of course, I also lay part of the blame on those Americans who sat on their asses or voted third party because “but but but Hillary!”
Polls cover non-voters as well as voters, and they show 42% of Americans still support Trump. I take very little comfort from the gap between 42% and 46%.
Booman put up a post a few days ago about “throw the bums out” voters – pointing out there is a significant tranch of disgruntled voters who always vote against the party in power. With a Democratic President and a candidate (HRC) easily characterized as “establishment,” these voters were a significant problem to the Dems in 2016. Such voters should be a problem to the R’s in 2020.
Even more in 2024, and they are not making a whole lot of new “social conservatives” either.
@Charon: I need to add Booman to my regular rotation. For some reason I tend to forget him and Little Green Footballs.
I just read something last week about how Christian Colleges are having to come to grips with the fact that their student bodies aren’t down with anti-gay policies.
Wow. Just spent some time on twitter where I saw a Trumper say this is Democrats’ fault and the proof is Elian Gonzalez. That’s creatively stupid.
Well, Trump has sent Melania, or, more likely, one of her attendants out to catch flak for him:
@CSK: That’s a good article–it pretty bluntly tells the truth about where the policy came from.
Yeah, it does. Worth a full read.
I fear the next Republican President. The one that looks and acts the part, but implements the same policies more effectively.
One potential example: Mitt Romney went from a Rockefeller Republican in Massachusetts, to a Severe Conservative. People tut-tut that and claim he was just saying what he thought he needed to do to win the primary. But I think the situation is worse — his desire to BE President is greater than his desire to do any specific thing as President. His next iteration would be Brutal, Savage Conservative Anti-Trump.
And there are countless other Romneyesque Changelings out there.
(Also, if Mitt Romney thought that being a pirate would improve his chances of being president, he would have a parrot on his shoulder)
Barely related to this is a question I have almost every time I read a Doug Mataconis post on this administration: At what point should one stop voting for their ideals, and start voting for the lesser of two evils?
We know that Doug is a libertarian, and has made comments in support of libertarian candidates before — although he has pointed out that we have no idea who he has voted for. It’s a question I have about all those that gravitate towards third parties, whether it be Libertarians, Greens, or whatever.
And it’s a question that goes back to Richard III:
Lady Gray: Should I be tempted by the Devil?
Richard III: Aye, if the devil tempts thee to good
(Lines recreated from memory, Shakespeare probably had it slightly better. And it presumably goes back to some biblical story, but I’ve never read the Bible)
This will give you all a laugh. Emily Jane Fox, of Vanity Fair, has written a book entitled Born Trump, about the four eldest Trump spawn. In it, she notes that Donald Senior regards Jared Kushner as “an intellectual.” I can’t stop laughing.
Read blow. The article even admits to the laws. It doesn’t mean separation if the parents are arrested. The kids don’t get to go to jail with their parents. Do kids of US citizens get to go to jail with their parents when they break the law in the USA? Most of the kids have been placed except the last 1400 so far and it’s revolving door of kids in and out. Some came alone as well. There were over 6000 kids in the system over the last few months. It’s a revolving door when you have 50,000 people coming over in a few months time. They can’t be processed in the courts fast enough. Democrat policies. And laws.
“In fact, there is no law that requires families to be separated at the border. There is a law against “improper entry” at the border, as well as a consent decree known as the Flores settlement that limits to 20 days the amount of time that migrant children may be held in immigration detention, which a federal judge ruled in 2016 also applies to families. A 2008 anti-trafficking statute — signed into law by a Republican president, George W. Bush — also requires that certain unaccompanied alien minors be transferred out of immigration detention in 72 hours. None of those laws or precedents mean that children must be taken away from their parents.”
I’m just getting a blank page when I click on this link.
I’m confused. Is this internment without judicial process of children the result of compliance with our laws and the commandments of God? Or is this purely the result of Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Soros somehow holding the reins despite Trump’s best efforts?
It’s not conducive to to affinity and agreement when you outsource your core argument. It makes you seem like you cannot form an independent argument to bolster your take or slant.
Wu Tang Clan is 4 the chirrun!
(I doing a finger W and sit dancing as I type this.)
ODB was a talented man but he was not smart. Riza, Giza, Method Man: talented – and smart and savvy.
Wu Tang Clan is like The Replacements. A collective that cannot do anything but implode because personalities.
Protect ya neck, errbody.
Please tell me that you are comic relief or something. Doug doesn’t need to live on the border to experience immigration’s impact. We have sea ports and airports where immigrants come into our country. I seriously doubt that you live (or have lived) anywhere near any of these entry ports to our country.
I remember radio talk show guys advocating shooting people as they cross the border. They claimed to be “real” Americans but had no understanding of our laws, much like you.
Our country has agreed through treaties and other agreements to give asylum to people. Of course this needs to be checked out, but it doesn’t include doing things that will permanently harm small children. I’m actually surprised that you are clinging to that excuse since Trump has already admitted that this policy of his is to force the Democrats to agree to building his wall. While James Pearce thinks that is a good idea, most Democrats understand that it’s a non-starter.
I’m not sure what you think the “Obama era” is trying to hide. It seems that you think there are people trying to whitewash what he did in regards to immigration and mitigate what is happening now. Many people disagreed with Obama’s policy wrt immigrants and were very vocal about it. Your wahtaboutism has been noted before. I don’t know why you keep trotting it out.
Finally, your god is not blessing these poor children. Your giving lip-service to something you may think has some soothing empathy is not worth the pixels it takes to show up on my computer. You don’t care about those children, and I’m pretty sure you hope your god doesn’t either. You don’t want your god to bless them. You want your political allies to condemn and hurt them — because then perhaps parents will learn their lesson and you will feel justified in your hate.
As for me, I wish no one harm. I live near the border now and have lived in the southwest all my life. I love the contributions people from across our border have made to life here. It is a joy to hear the music, to appreciate the flavor, and yes, benefit from the hard work of people who come here to escape violence and try to live a life free of fear and hate.
Could you maybe hate just a bit less? That would be really helpful.
So shocking that Pearce and the D party are at odds!
They hate you because you represent a world they despise. Decency and neighborliness is a sin in their world.
It’s a fraught situation that we cannot resolve tonight. Let’s enjoy profound beauty in normality.
Joe Henry. One Shoe On
@CSK: reddit cuts links off when too much traffic comes in like that. Mibad. I’ll rehost it next time.
Oh look, it’s the immigration version of “thoughts and prayers”…just as cynical, just as cheap, just as meaningless…
@Lava Land:..God Bless the Children…
I am grateful that god never blessed me in such a vile and cruel manner.
@Lava Land: I have lived a few hours from the Mexico border for almost 10 years now. The only invasion I see are border patrol agents who think they can stop anyone and do anything hundreds of miles from the border. The only invasion my friend’s ranch owning family has seen is the government trying to take their land with little compensation (DA WALL BRAW!!) while trampling through their fields and fences. At least the illegals are quiet and don’t intentionally damage their property unlike the government agents…
You can spread all the bullshit about Obama you want but the reality is THIS IS Trump’s doing. “he started it” “BUT WHAT ABOUT (insertirreelevantpersonhere)!!” doesn’t cut it for children and it sure as shit doesn’t cut it for adults.