Trump jabs Dems after Obama-era immigration photos go viral

Sergio Conner
May 31, 2018

The Trump administration on Tuesday sought to blame Democrats for what it calls a "border crisis", claiming that Democrats were standing in the way of much-needed laws.

"Put pressure on the Democrats", he tweeted Saturday, "to end the terrible law that separates children from (their) parents once they cross the Border into the U.S". They thought it was recent pictures in order to make us look bad, but backfires.

"We need to change the law so families arriving illegally can be sent home swiftly, and so there can be an actual border protecting the country, and protecting American communities", he said.

In March and April, more than 50,000 people were detained per month trying to cross the southwest border illegally, levels similar to those during the administration of Barack Obama, according to USA government figures. Most of those Twitter users subsequently deleted their tweets.

The Trump administration is pushing back against news reports that it has lost track of nearly 1,500 immigrant children who came to the United States as unaccompanied minors.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has defended the Trump administration's practice of separating children from parents when the family is being prosecuted for entering the USA illegally, telling a Senate committee earlier this month that removing children from parents facing criminal charges happens "in the United States every day". Not surprisingly, many of those families include other relatives living in the USA illegally who are very reluctant to talk to government officials, especially during Trump's presidency.

What's more, Democrats aren't wholly responsible for either policy.

But again: Many more immigrants were being deported during the first five years of the previous administration - a policy that provoked minimal press coverage at the time, and even less outrage among pundits and activists.

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Earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said people caught smuggling a child into the country will be prosecuted "and that child will be separated from you as required by law", according to Inside Edition. "And we didn't have enough shelter facilities, because we had a huge increase, so kids ended up piling up in Border Patrol lock-ups, which are no places for children". If the current system doesn't do a good job of keeping track of children, why would a new approach that separates children from their unauthorized-immigrant parents as a matter of policy adequately handle the children in its care?

It's not highly unusual to fail to keep track of many minors who came unaccompanied to the border.

Jonathan Rath Hoffman, chief spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, described the Trump administration's determination to prosecute parents as a continuation of Obama-era measures.

DHS argues that the 1997 settlement and the 2008 law encourage loopholes for immigrants with children, which could explain why the Trump administration is targeting these two issues for reform.

In a detailed explainer, The Washington Post said it was unclear why the controversy, which has always been reported on, had suddenly gained traction on social media over the past few days.

Immigration advocates have said that separation of children from parents has been happening for months. "HHS's primary legal responsibility is to temporarily house and then release the UAC", Steven Wagner, acting assistant assistant secretary at the Administration for Children and Families, told reporters in a Tuesday briefing.

As a result, the policy turns children with families into unaccompanied minors, McKenna said, and puts them at risk for longer detention and then entry into foster care.

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