President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he was not going to reinstate his administration’s earlier policy of systematically separating families that are apprehended at the border. But he seemed to praise the policy in the same breath, saying “once you don’t have it, that’s why you see many more people coming.”
“They’re coming like it’s a picnic, because ‘Let’s go to Disneyland,'” he said.
On the heels of anonymously sourced reports following Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s ouster that Trump has expressed a desire to bring back the family separation policy, the President said Tuesday that “we’re not looking to” bring the policy back.
Trump also said, while sitting next to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in the Oval Office, that “Obama separated the children, by the way.”
While it’s true that border agents separated families apprehended at the border in rare instances in past administrations — such as when there was evidence of child abuse — the Trump administration alone pursued the policy of systematic family separations.
Illegally crossing the border is a misdemeanor for the first offense. Past administrations did not systematically prosecute these misdemeanors. The Trump administration did, and, because there are legal limits on the detention of children, thousands of families were separated as a result.
Trump says without family separations, migrant families come to the U.S. like it's "Disneyland" pic.twitter.com/pr7OLO5qS3
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) April 9, 2019