Trump’s immigration policy: Up the cruelty, dodge the blame

Trump’s immigration policy: Up the cruelty, dodge the blame

Immigration advocates maintained that the arguments presented by the Trump administration were inaccurate, and an attempt to justify a policy that is "barbaric".

On May 7, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a speech that "If you're smuggling a child, then we're going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law".

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In a statement from the Department of Homeland Security, it referenced a 1997 court settlement and a 2008 anti-trafficking law both pertaining to minors crossing the border as part of the reason for why the Trump administration is forced to separate families. "They will not be given a free pass, and that is irrespective of whether or not they have brought a child with them".

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 U.S. illegally, telling a Senate committee earlier this month that removing children from parents facing criminal charges happens "in the United States every day".

"Democrats mistakenly tweet 2014 pictures from Obama's term showing children from the Border in steel cages", Trump wrote on Twitter.

That's not true. There's no law mandating that parents must be separated from their children.

As the immigration debate lit up social media over the weekend, Trump on Saturday (Sunday NZT) falsely claimed that "we have to break up families" at the border because "the Democrats gave us that law".

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"He actually called the practice disgusting".

Lee Gelernt of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project said Tuesday that "Children are begging and screaming not to be separated from their parents, as they're hauled off to different cities".

In this June 18, 2014 photo, two female detainees sleep in a holding cell, as the children are separated by age group and gender, at a US Customs and Border Protection center in Nogales, Arizona.

"If we want to talk about optics, I'm sure she was just like, 'This is a lovely photo of me and my son, I'm going to post it, etc., etc.,'" McCain said, "but yes, when you are the special adviser to the president of the United States of America, whether they like it or not, they got to think about optics".

Instead, House Speaker Paul Ryan and his leadership team are trying to put together an alternative approach that most Republicans would support.

An official from the Health and Human Services Department told a congressional hearing last month that his department placed follow-up phone calls from October to December to US households that were sponsoring minors who crossed the border without their parents.

During a Senate committee hearing late last month, Steven Wagner, an official with the Department of Health and Human Services, testified that the federal agency had lost track of 1,475 children who had crossed the US-Mexico border on their own.

Favreau did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.

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