With the sudden departure of Kirstjen Nielsen from the position of Department of Homeland Security secretary this week, reports surfaced that the Trump administration would reinstate the “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that separated thousands of migrant children from their parents.
Responding to the speculation, President Donald Trump repeated what he said multiple times during the height of the family separation outcry: that it was started under the Obama administration.
“Obama separated the children, by the way,” Trump told reporters Tuesday. “Just so you understand, President Obama separated the children.”
The problem with this statement, as multiple news outlets including IJR previously pointed out, is it’s just not true.
Family separation was a direct result of the “zero-tolerance” policy change ordered by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April of 2018.
Obama never had any such policy. Family separation only happened under the Obama and Bush administrations if the guardians of the migrant minors were linked to crimes such as drug trafficking, according to ABC News.
Trump continued his false blame on Tuesday, however, and credited himself with ending the policy.
“I’m the one that stopped it. President Obama had child separation.”
Watch the video below:
As reporters are being ushered out of Oval Office, Trump abruptly says, "Obama separated the children, by the way. Just so you understand — President Obama separated the children… I'm the one who stopped it… I was the one who changed it." pic.twitter.com/llLH0CinuZ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 9, 2019
Trump denied the reports that family separation would be reinstated but implied that he thought the policy was a good deterrent.
“I’ll tell you something, once you don’t have it, that’s why you see many more people coming,” he said.
“They’re coming like it’s a picnic cause let’s go to Disneyland. President Obama separated children. They had child separation. I was the one that changed it.”