Over the weekend, the media narrative that the Trump administration is cruelly separating illegal immigrant parents from their children while in detention finally went viral. And that caused an enormous number of prominent Leftists to tweet out a bit of fake news: a story from 2014, during the Obama administration, regarding the holding of illegal immigrant children who had entered the United States en masse. The photos from that story were disseminated, ironically enough, by at least one member of the Obama administration:
The pictures were also tweeted by Shaun King and Linda Sarsour, among others.
As soon as many of these commentators realized that they had inadvertently smacked down President Obama’s administration, they deleted their tweets and corrected them:
President Trump, meanwhile, blamed Democrats for the separation of illegal immigrant children from parents:
The ACLU, meanwhile, is fighting Trump on this:
So, what’s the real story?
There are really two issues. First, there’s the status of unaccompanied minors entering the United States. Those minors must be remanded to foster parents, shelters or sponsors within 20 days rather than held indefinitely in detention facilities. That settlement, according to FactCheck.org, was extended to accompanied children as well. Here’s FactCheck.org’s summary of the situation (they said Trump was lying, by the way):
They require the government to release children from custody after a certain period of detainment, said Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute. But they don’t require that parents continue to be held in immigration detention. “The government absolutely has the option to release the parents,” as well, Pierce said. That’s as long as they aren’t a flight or safety risk, she added.
But this means Trump isn’t lying at all. He’s pointing out that Democrats and Leftist judges (particularly on the Ninth Circuit) have suggested that children cannot be detained at all, which means that if the American government wishes to detain parents, they must separate the families. Trump’s only other choice would be not to prosecute illegal immigration at all.
Which means that any legislative fix would include an express provision stating that children should be kept with their parents in detention – or at least that parents should be given the option of keeping their children with them in detention.