The Trump administration continues to face criticism for its treatment of immigrants taken into custody after crossing the southern border to seek asylum, but President Donald Trump is completely and utterly glossing over the actual situation on the ground in which detained children have been kept in deplorable conditions. In an interview published this week, he went so far that he claimed asylum seekers are being treated better under his administration than they were under that of former President Barack Obama. He also flatly lied that Obama is the one who came up with the policy of separating detained migrant families — that policy simply did not exist under Obama, and Trump is operating in an egomaniacal fairy tale.
‘The conditions are much better than they were under President Obama… When I came in, I took over Obama’s policy. It was a policy of separation. I’m the one that put them together.’
Again, although some family separations were undertaken under Obama’s leadership, there was no “zero tolerance” policy in place like that which the Trump administration implemented in an attempt to scare possible asylum seekers away from coming. Trump himself has not just defended but praised this policy, so his claim that somehow not only is he better than Obama but he turned around Obama’s supposed family separation policy is absolutely ludicrous.
Remember too — seeking asylum is a legally protected process, but some of those who arrive and are processed at designated ports of entry are being held in the conditions that have lately attracted so much scrutiny for the Trump administration. Lawyers recently visiting a detention facility in McAllen, Texas, ended up themselves pressuring authorities to hospitalize four ill migrant toddlers including one who was unresponsive, none of whom were apparently receiving any kind of attention prior to the lawyers’ intervention. Overall, children have been left with nowhere but concrete floors with lights constantly shining on them and little else.
A Justice Department lawyer even argued in court recently that they should not be considered obligated to provide detained children with soap, toothbrushes, and similar implements! Every single one of the members of that three-judge panel were flabbergasted at the lawyer’s commentary.
In short, while detention conditions under Obama were often criticized and even dangerous, Trump has poured gasoline onto the simmering issues that were there already. His claim of treating immigrants better than Obama did has no clear basis in fact, even when simply compared to what a lawyer for his own administration was saying in court just the other day.
Acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) head John Sanders plans to soon step down and hundreds of children were transferred away from a deplorable Texas facility recently, but the overall issue remains. Trump has threatened to increase the pressure on immigrant communities with raids targeting undocumented immigrants that he delayed to provide a chance for an immigration deal he said in that same interview this week he doesn’t expect to take shape. The future of large numbers of people hangs in the balance.
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