In a new report on the Trump administration's "pilot program" for its "zero tolerance" policy that has resulted in the separation of thousands of children from their families who entered the country illegally, NBC News notes that the separations began in October 2016, months before Donald Trump was inaugurated.
As Ed Morissey suggests, the title of NBC's report is potentially misleading: "Trump admin ran 'pilot program' for separating migrant families in 2017," it reads.
Though the title correctly cites 2017 as the start date of the official zero tolerance "pilot program," the subtitle makes clear that the true start date for the separation of migrant children from their parents was actually 2016: "The numbers show the government was separating migrant kids from their parents back in 2016 and 2017," reads the subtitle.
NBC begins its report by noting that at least 2,342 migrant children have been separated from their parents since May 5, the official date of the implementation of the administration's "zero tolerance" policy. "But numbers provided to NBC News by the Department of Homeland Security show that another 1,768 were separated from their parents between October 2016 and February 2018, bringing the total number of separated kids to more than 4,100."
Here's the key passage from NBC's report:
More than 1,000 children were separated between October 2016 and September 2017, and 703 were separated between October 2017 and February 2018, according to DHS.
It's unclear how many of those 1,768 children were separated after President Donald Trump's inauguration in January 2017. NBC repeatedly asked DHS for comprehensive data, but the agency declined to provide month-by-month figures and did not provide any numbers for March and April 2018.
A DHS official told NBC News that the practice of dividing parents and kids predates the Trump presidency. "DHS has continued a long-standing policy by the previous administration," said the official, listing risk to the child and criminal prosecution of the parent as among the reasons for separation.
Though NBC's sources clearly state that the separation of families predated the Trump administration, the network chose to focus the piece on the "pilot program," which its sources say ran from July 2017 to October 2017.
"[T]he DHS official also confirmed to NBC that, from July 2017 to October 2017, the Trump administration ran what the official called a 'pilot program' for zero tolerance in El Paso," NBC reports.
H/T Hot Air