Politics

Four Immigration Facts Mainstream Media Won’t Tell You

Where were the crying TV anchors and Trump-cursing protesters when then-President Barack Obama reopened the 'family detention centers'?

Turn on CNN or MSNBC, and within seconds the screen will likely be filled with distressing images of crying children locked in dog cages — and headlines screaming that President Donald Trump is tearing babies from their screaming mothers’ arms.

It’s the mainstream media’s latest anti-Trump narrative: He and Attorney General Jeff Sessions coldly invented a new “No Tolerance” policy for illegal immigrants just so they could begin arresting thousands of men and women crossing the border from Mexico and cruelly dragging little boys and girls away from their parents. The parents go to jail and the kids to dog cages, internment or concentration camps, or worse.

As usual, there’s a lot more to the story than the mainstream media are reporting. Here’s what they aren’t telling you about the crisis on the border. Note that the accompanying photos are from 2014, not 2018:

1.) Then-President Barack Obama, not Donald Trump, opened those infamous detention centers. Responding to a flood of refugees coming to the U.S. through Mexico from Central America, “The Obama administration in 2014 revived a policy of family detention that had previously been all but abolished in 2009,” according to The Migrationist, an open borders blog.

The Migrationist’s claim was based on data compiled by the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), another open borders advocate, which explained that Obama’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) then “significantly expanded detention of mothers and children by more than 4,000 percent from approximately 85 detention beds to nearly 4,000 beds” (emphasis added).

Then-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson told a congressional committee that “the new detention facilities were built to quickly deport people and deter future migrants,” according to NIJC.

2.) Critics blasting Trump today for not keeping families together in the detention centers fought using them for that purpose four years ago. “Detention is inappropriate for mothers and children because … family detention has negative physical and mental health effects,” NIJC argued in 2014. “Detention re-traumatizes children and mothers who are victims of violence, as control over their lives is placed in the hands of the guards, and they lose autonomy over their freedom of movement.”

The federal government presently has about 12,000 immigrant children in its care, but more than 10,000 of them came to the U.S. unaccompanied by an adult in previous years. Without government protection, such children are prey to drug cartels, sex traffickers and coyotes, and vicious gangs such as MS-13.

3.) A 2008 law requires officials to verify if adults claiming to be parents actually are. It’s the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, signed by President George W. Bush and approved by the Democratic Congress. The New York Times said the Wilberforce bill was “at the root of the potentially calamitous flow of unaccompanied minors to the nation’s southern border” that prompted the Obama administration’s reopening of the detention centers in 2014.

Just as it was four years ago, the Wilberforce law’s requirements — and federal court decisions — are why immigration officials today must at least tentatively determine the credibility of an adult’s claim of being a child’s parent.

If the adult with the child entered the country illegally, he or she is arrested and held, pending resolution of the case. The child cannot be jailed with the adult, leaving immigration authorities no alternative but to use a detention facility to care for the child, at least temporarily until a more permanent arrangement is available.

4.) So can you guess when NPR reported these words? “A hundred and thirty-six House Democrats recently called on the administration to stop detaining immigrant families. I don’t think it is a coincidence,” said Silky Shah, co-director of the Washington, D.C.-based Detention Watch Network, a group opposed to the detention of immigrants. “This issue of detaining immigrants unlawfully is finally coming to a head, and the administration is learning that its policy of family detention is backfiring.”

No, the NPR report was published in 2015, during the Obama administration. What the protesters then wanted Obama to do in 2015 is the same thing they are demanding Trump do in 2018 — open the borders to all comers.

Senior editor Mark Tapscott can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.

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