The Democrat Party and their allies in the media have been attempting to blame President Trump and his administration for the poor living conditions of children who’ve been smuggled or who’ve illegally entered our country.
Even the liberal Politifact “fact-checker” defended President Trump when he went on the offense against Democrats after liberals attacked the Trump administration’s policy on child migrants. Trump said the Democrats were sharing a photo of detained children from 2014 during President Barack Obama’s presidency.
“Democrats mistakenly tweet 2014 pictures from Obama’s term showing children from the Border in steel cages,” Trump tweeted May 29. “They thought it was recent pictures in order to make us look bad, but backfires. Dems must agree to Wall and new Border Protection for good of country…Bipartisan Bill!”
Trump’s tweets followed some blame and confusion about nearly 1,500 “lost” immigrant children. In late April, a federal agency reported being unable to locate about 1,500 children who came to the United States alone. Around the same time, the Trump administration announced a “zero-tolerance” policy to ramp up prosecutions of individuals who cross the border illegally.
Trump’s tweet is accurate. One of the Democrats who shared the photo was Jon Favreau, a former Obama speechwriter.
Favreau, who has one million followers on Twitter, tweeted on May 27: “Look at these pictures. This is happening right now, and the only debate that matters is how we force our government to get these kids back to their families as fast as humanly possible.”
The photo was taken by Ross D. Franklin of the Associated Press in June 2014 at a Customs and Border Protection Agency center in Nogales, Arizona. The photo was used in an Arizona Republic article which described the migrants as “children in cages.” The newspaper verified the timing of the photo in a tweet.
Breitbart News has revealed the inside of a shelter where migrant children who’ve been separated from their parents are being held, after the Department of Health and Human Services hosted Breitbart News and other media on a tour of a facility in El Cajon, California.
The children are separated from their parents — or, to be precise, from the adults accompanying them, who may or may not be their parents — when their parents cross the southern U.S. border illegally and are caught and detained.
Previously, under the “catch-and-release” policy, the adults would be released. Under the “zero tolerance” policy of the Trump administration, the adults are being detained and prosecuted. Children cannot be incarcerated with them.
However, families that arrive together at legal ports of entry and apply for asylum status are generally not split up and are permitted to stay in the U.S. pending the adjudication of their applications (which can take several years).
Democrats and the mainstream media have accused the administration of separating the children of “immigrants” from their parents and imprisoning them in “cages.” On Thursday, CNN analyst and Playboy reporter Brian Karem shouted at White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “These people have nothing. They come to the border with nothing and you throw children in cages.” None of the reporters in the briefing room corrected him.
The facility at El Cajon, however, is not a “cage.” It is a comfortable facility providing lodging, meals, clothing, medical care, education, recreation, counseling, and other services.
It is run by a nonprofit organization called Southwest Key as part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) Program, run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in the Administration for Children and Familes (ACF).
The facility is located on a main street in a quiet, suburban neighborhood. It has 65 beds, occupied by boys ages 6 to 17. The rooms are spare, with three to four beds in each; the boys are responsible for cleaning the rooms and making their own beds. There is an outdoor recreation area with picnic tables and a small soccer pitch.
There is a classroom area, and English lessons. The goal is “reunification”: letting each child depart with a legal guardian.
Some 90% of the children at the shelter arrived at the border without adults; the other 10% were separated from the adults accompanying them. Once the children arrive — usually brought by U.S. Border Patrol agents — they are greeted in the “intake” office, where they receive any urgent medical care, are assigned a case worker, and are given food, a shower, and new clothing. They are also given toiletries and lessons in hygiene — literally how to flush a toilet, brush their teeth, and operate the shower, which some of the children may have never seen in their lives.
The children receive six hours of education daily, which include lessons in English and physical education. The boys interact with girls who are housed offsite and brought to the shelter during the day to access its services.
Less than 3 weeks after President Trump’s inauguration, the New York Times reported on a horrific abuse of illegal children by human traffickers that was taking place in Ohio after Barack Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services, after Obama allowed children to be placed with “families” and then never followed up to check on their welfare.
A new PBS Frontline documentary focuses on the labor trafficking scheme that unfolded on a Marion County-area egg farm.
The documentary, titled “Trafficked in America,” traces the story of the Central American teenagers who were smuggled into the United States and forced to work at Trillium Farms for long hours and low pay and, in some cases, under threat of violence against them or their families.
“In our years of reporting on the exploitation of immigrant workers, we’d come across cases of labor trafficking, but nothing quite like this one,” journalist Daffodil Altan says at the beginning of the documentary, which opens on aerial shots of the New Bloomington trailer park where the teens were forced to live.
Made in collaboration with the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley, the documentary takes viewers to the highlands of Guatemala where some of the teens are from, to the trailer park in Marion County where the teens were made to live and to places in the United States where human trafficking continues.
Court papers allege they were made to work up to 12 hours per day, six or seven days per week for little pay, with the traffickers taking a large cut of their paychecks to put toward smuggling debts. If they complained, they or their families were threatened, court papers allege. The workers were forced to live in trailers, at least one of which had no heat, no working toilet and no hot water, according to court records.
In his interview with Frontline, Duran denied knowing Castillo-Serrano, claiming he had only spoken with him once on the phone, and denied having any knowledge of minors working on Trillium’s egg farms.
The documentary also describes failings of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is in charge of placing unaccompanied border crossers under the age of 18 with a relative or adult sponsor while they await immigration court proceedings.
In the case of the teenage immigrants working at Trillium, HHS released the teens to their traffickers, the documentary says.
The film pointed to other possible cases of trafficked teens, including teens with whom the filmmakers spoke in Clarion, Iowa, who work long hours in food processing plants to pay off debts.
“More than 180,000 unaccompanied minors have been placed in communities across the country but because there’s so little follow-up with them, once they’re out of the government’s care, we have no idea what’s happened to them,” Garance Burke, an Associated Press reporter, is quoted as having told Frontline.