Two days after Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) was denied entry to an immigrant detention center in Brownsville, Texas that houses undocumented children, President Trump sought to pin blame for his administration’s policy of separating children from their parents on Democrats.
“Separating families at the Border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats,” Trump tweeted. “Border Security laws should be changed but the Dems can’t get their act together! Started the Wall.”
Separating families at the Border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats. Border Security laws should be changed but the Dems can’t get their act together! Started the Wall.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
In just 32 words, Trump managed to pack in least four blatant lies about immigration policy.
There is no legislation requiring the Trump administration to separate children from their parents
Congress hasn’t passed a law requiring undocumented children to be separated from their parents when they cross the border. Instead, in April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new “zero tolerance” policy for border-crossers.
“To those who wish to challenge the Trump Administration’s commitment to public safety, national security, and the rule of law, I warn you: illegally entering this country will not be rewarded, but will instead be met with the full prosecutorial powers of the Department of Justice,” Sessions wrote in a statement announcing the new policy. “To the Department’s prosecutors, I urge you: promoting and enforcing the rule of law is vital to protecting a nation, its borders, and its citizens. You play a critical part in fulfilling these goals, and I thank you for your continued efforts in seeing to it that our laws—and as a result, our nation—are respected.”
That policy has resulted in children being separated from their parents and taken to facilities like the Casa Padre one in Brownsville, while their parents are taken to jail.
The Trump administration is fully responsible for the family separation policy
The “zero tolerance” policy was developed and implemented entirely by the Trump administration. Democratic lawmakers had nothing to do with it.
The Trump administration could unilaterally reinstate the Obama-era policy of keeping undocumented families together at any time.
Republicans are the lawmakers standing in the way of immigration reform
While Trump wants you to believe that “the Dems can’t get their act together” to change border security policy, the fact is that Republicans are more divided on immigration policy than Democrats.
All but three House Democrats have signed a discharge petition that would bypass the House’s Republican leadership and force a vote on immigration reform legislation, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that the Trump administration ended last fall.
Twenty-three Republicans have joined them. Only five more votes are needed to sidestep leadership and allow floor votes on a few different immigration plans.
Earlier this year, Trump rejected a bipartisan deal that included nearly $3 billion in funding for border security measures. Shortly afterward, Chief of Staff John Kelly said Trump would reject any immigration deal that included less than $20 billion for his border wall — a wall Trump repeatedly promised Mexico would pay for — in addition to rollbacks on legal immigration.
Trump has not started building the wall
Trump has pretended as though construction of his long-promised border wall is already underway.
Great briefing this afternoon on the start of our Southern Border WALL! pic.twitter.com/pmCNoxxlkH
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2018
In reality, Trump still hasn’t secured any funding to build the wall he has repeatedly promised American taxpayers won’t fund.
Democrats were not willing to give Trump $20 billion for the wall. Although an omnibus spending bill signed by Trump in March contained $1.6 billion on border security measures, that money is only available for fencing and improving existing barriers — not to build the wall prototypes that Trump made a big show of inspecting in March.
A House Republican has since introduced legislation that would allow establish a dedicated fund where Americans could make donations to fund the wall — which order security agents say is unnecessary, and which Trump himself has privately acknowledged is more about saving face politically than ensuring national security.