With help from Fox News, Trump pushes brazen lie about his family separation policy

"Fake News is working overtime!"


On Monday morning, President Trump bemoaned that there is “[s]uch a difference in the media coverage of the same immigration policies between the Obama administration and ours.”

“Actually, we have done a far better job in that our facilities are cleaner and better run than were the facilities under Obama,” Trump added. “Fake News is working overtime!”

Trump’s tweet came about 30 minutes after Fox News reporter Kevin Corke went on Fox & Friends and pushed the same false talking point.


“Very interesting to note the difference in the coverage of that policy which was actually happening during the Obama administration, versus the way it’s being covered now during the Trump administration,” Corke said.

But it’s simply not the case that Trump’s policy is the same as Obama’s.

While Trump has repeatedly tried to blame Obama for the current situation at the southern border, the Obama administration did not prosecute border-crossers to the full extent of the law. The “zero tolerance” policy Trump implemented in April resulted in children being taken from their parents, who are prosecuted for the misdemeanor offense of illegal border-crossing, with the children being sent to detention facilities that are sometimes many states away from the border.

It is true that family separations happened during Obama. As former homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson recently explained to NPR, “I can’t say that it never happened. There may have been some exigent situation, some emergency… There may have been some doubt about whether the adult accompanying the child was in fact the parent of the child.”


But Johnson added that separations did not happen “as a matter of policy or practice. It’s not something that I could ask our Border Patrol or our immigration enforcement personnel to do.”

Likewise, Obama’s top domestic policy adviser, Cecilia Muñoz, recently told The New York Times that officials considered separating migrant children from their parents, but quickly decided against it because “The morality of it was clear — that’s not who we are.”

In a recent fact-check headlined, “No, Donald Trump’s separation of immigrant families was not Barack Obama’s policy,” Politifact concluded that “Obama’s immigration policy specifically sought to avoid breaking up families. While some children were separated from their parents under Obama, this was relatively rare, and occurred at a far lower rate than under Trump, where the practice flows from a zero tolerance approach to illegal border-crossings.

Trump’s tweet about how his administration had the “same immigration policies” as Obama wasn’t the only lie about immigration he told on Monday morning. In another tweet, Trump claimed that “we must continue to BUILD THE WALL!”

In fact, construction on the wall hasn’t begun, because Congress hasn’t appropriated any money for it. While congressional Democrats have signaled willingness to spend up to $3 billion on border security measures, Trump has refused to take anything less than roughly $20 billion multi-year wall funding (in addition to rollbacks on legal immigration) as part of an omnibus immigration bill.

Trump, of course, promised repeatedly throughout his campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall.