The Trump administration continues to flail under pressure for how they’re treating detained asylum seekers. As reports continue to circulate about the dangerous conditions inside detention centers — including multiple reports from the Trump administration itself — President Donald Trump said this week that he wants to send press to tour the facilities. The implication seems to be that they would find that conditions are not as bad as they’ve been described. Press has already been allowed inside some of the facilities, though, and it’s not as though the stream of reports about their dangerous conditions has slowed down.
Still, after being asked if he would visit the scrutinized facilities, Trump deflected and told reporters:
‘What we’re going to do is I’m going to start showing some of these detention centers … to the press. I want the press to go in and see them. We’re going to send people in. We’re going to have some of the press go in.’
A presidential visit might not be the best idea considering that when First Lady Melania Trump showed up to a child detention center, she was wearing a jacket that proclaimed in big white letters “I really don’t care.” Literally!
What exact form what the president has in mind would take remains to be seen. CNN reports that just last month, they and other outlets were already allowed inside the Clint, Texas, detention facility, where at the time more than 100 children were being held.
Since then, members of Congress have also toured that facility, although they were not allowed to bring phones in so the kind of documentation of that trip that Trump suggests could dispel rumors is in short supply. Progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) did share, however, that detained women had been told to drink out of a toilet if they needed water and that these women were apparently incessantly harassed by staff. No amount of money can make up for a failure in basic moral aptitude.
There have been photos emerging from the detention centers thanks to those reports on the situation from offices inside the Trump administration. With photos to back their report up, following an unannounced inspection, the inspector general overseeing the Department of Homeland Security shared that “at one facility, some single adults were held in standing room only conditions for a week and at another, some single adults were held more than a month in overcrowded cells.” Officials who worked at the facilities described them as a “ticking time bomb.”
In other words, Trump’s implication that the situation could be smoothed over if only press would go in and check out the facilities for themselves seems completely false. The situation, he claimed this week, has been helped by Mexico’s participation in the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols, which constitute a policy the Trump administration put in place to send asylum seekers back to Mexico while their claims were processed. The Mexican government has also apparently gotten more aggressive in their detentions of migrants before they ever reach the border with the United States.
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