‘This Is Not America’: Outrage Spreads Over Trump Mural At Migrant Children Facility

Screengrab from MSNBC report on Trump mural inside migrant children holding facility.
June 15, 2018 11:13 a.m.

Lawmakers, advocates and journalists are outraged at the the mural of President Donald Trump at a holding center for migrant children in Texas, labeling the painting and subsequent quote from Trump’s “Art of the Deal” book “Orwellian” and un-American.

“These children were torn from their mothers and shuttled into a de-facto prison, only to be greeted by a triumphant mural of the man who put them there,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) tweeted on Thursday. “This Orwellian propaganda is frightening.”

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After touring the facility in Arizona on Wednesday, MSNBC reporter Jacob Soboroff said the kids in the center are “effectively incarcerated” and surfaced a photo of the mural on Twitter. The painting features Trump’s face smiling above the White House, with an American flag. It’s accompanied by a quote from Trump’s book “Art of the Deal,” where Trump describes his efforts to evict tenants from a building that he wanted to tear down in the 1980s.

“Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war,” it says.

To be fair, each wing of the facility is named after a different President and features a painting of each with a quote, according to a Washington Post report on the facility. The quote alongside the painting of former President Barack Obama could be considered more inspiring to migrant children who were forced to stay in the facility after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, either on their own or after being forcibly taken from their parents.

“My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.”

Amy Siskind, an advocate and president of The New Agenda, tweeted a story that suggested the 1,500 10- to 17-year-old boys who are housed at the facility, called Casa Padre, were frightened by the Trump image. She called Trump a “dictator.”

Some journalists compared the mural and conditions to concentration camps and Nazi Germany propaganda.

Washington Post columnist Radley Balko said the image left him speechless.

Select journalists were allowed to tour the facility on Wednesday after public outcry over Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) being barred entry from the facility earlier this month.

While only 5 percent of the boys housed at Casa Padre were younger children separated from their parents after crossing the border, the issue has received increased attention in recent weeks as the Trump administration cracks down on its “zero tolerance” policy of arresting adults who caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally. The children of those incarcerated are then taken from their parents, often in inhumane ways, to be housed separately.

Trump told reporters on Friday that he “hates” that families are being pulled apart at the border, but insisted Democrats must change the law.

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