Recent reports that the Trump administration is considering reactivating policies to separate migrant families at the border appear to have merit after President Donald Trump on Saturday defended family separation as a means to deter undocumented immigration.
In usual Trumpian fashion, the president defended family separation policies—which are tantamount to mass human rights violations—by telling mistruths that seek to denigrate undocumented immigrants while making himself appear as hero and savior of the American way of life.
Fielding questions from reporters at the White House, Trump falsely claimed that undocumented immigration had spiked under his administration because the U.S. economy had performed poorly under previous presidents. With Trump as president, the economy has turned around and led to more immigration, his ludicrous theory goes.
Trump also further promoted the myth that hordes of undocumented migrants or human traffickers are snatching children that don’t belong to them in Latin America to seek asylum in the U.S. As The Intercept recently pointed out, citing the Department of Homeland Security’s own statistics, traffickers account for only about 0.1 percent of asylum-seekers.
Trump then blamed the Democrats again for Congress’ failure to pass immigration reform, despite the fact that Republicans control all three branches of government.
“We have people that are trying to get into our country because of how well our country is doing. And you know in the old days when the country wasn’t doing well, it was a lot easier. Now, everybody wants to come in. And they come in illegally. And they use children,” Trump said. “In many cases, the children aren’t theirs. They grab ’em, and they wanna come in with the children. So, we’re looking at a lot of different things having to do with illegal immigration.”
“What should happen,” he continued, “is the Democrats should pass good bills. This is the same situation that President Obama found himself in. He had separation and people didn’t talk about [it]…We have people trying to come in like never before…We’re gonna do whatever we can do to get it slowed down.
In reality, from 2000 to 2017, Trump’s first year in office, the number of apprehensions at the Southwest border declined by 81.5%, according to FactCheck.org, citing U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics. In 2017, the number of apprehensions dropped to just over 303,000, down from a peak of 1.64 million in 2000.
According to the organization:
Under the Obama administration, the yearly apprehensions on the Southwest border declined by 35 percent from calendar year 2008, the year before President Obama took office, through the end of 2016. In President Donald Trump’s first full year in office, the apprehensions declined by 43 percent, from calendar year 2016 to 2017.
On a monthly basis, the apprehensions decreased significantly during the first six months of Trump’s tenure and then began to rise back in line with the level of apprehensions from 2016.
Trump also doubled down on his belief that the horrendous policy of stripping migrant children from their parents and tossing them into cages or tent encampments in the desert helps to dissuade other migrants from making the dangerous trek from their home countries to the U.S. (Hint: It doesn’t.)
And no Trump rant on immigration would be complete without describing poor immigrants as some type of villainous B-grade horror flick character.
“If they feel there’s separation, in many cases, they don’t come,” he said. “But also in many cases, you have really bad people coming in and using children. They’re not their children, they don’t even know the children. They haven’t known the children for 20 minutes, and they grab children, and they use them to come into our country. You have some really bad people out there.”
He added: “We’re doing an incredible job. But, the one thing I will say, the country’s doing so well economically and every other way, that more people wanna come in than ever before. So, we have to be very strong.”
In the reality of Trump’s America, the ones who are actually “grabbing children” work for Donald Trump. But, of course, there is no room for truth in Trump’s world.