Trump blames Obama for child cages and family separation at the Mexico border, while providing no evidence

The comments come after high level resignations in positions overseeing America's immigration and security apparatus

Clark Mindock
New York
Tuesday 09 April 2019 13:54
Donald Trump: 'Obama started children separation. I'm the one who stopped it'

Donald Trump has claimed the Obama administration originally separated immigrant families arriving at the border, and that he took decisive measures to end it — in spite of recent reports that the current president wants to bring the policy back after a court ruled it was illegal.

"Just so you understand, President Obama separated the children. Those cages that were shown — I think they were very inappropriate. They were built by President Obama's administration. Not by Trump," the president said during a meeting in the Oval Office. "President Obama had child separation. Take a look."

"I'm the one that stopped it," he said.

The comments come as top ranks of the US Department of Homeland Security have come under fire by the president, leading to the notable departures of secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Secret Service chief Randolph Alles.

Those departures have been seen as a shift for Mr Trump, who appears poised to crack down even harder on immigration issues than his previous approach to the issue.

Just last week, for instance, Mr Trump floated the idea of getting rid of immigration judges in order to fix the American immigration system. Also last week, reports indicate that the president instructed Border Patrol agents to illegally turn immigrants away at the US-Mexico border.

The president's claim that Barack Obama's administration separated families is not a new one for the administration, and had been made by Ms Nielsen previously.

Those claims were hard to evaluate at the time, with DHS refusing to provide with a breakdown of the number of separated families at the border during previous administrations.

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The separations are generally thought to have started after attorney general Jeff Sessions penned a memo introducing a so-called "zero tolerance" policy that mandated detention and prosecution for individuals who enter the United States illegally, even if they did so seeking asylum.

The policies led to major news coverage after images of the children began to be released publicly, leading to widespread condemnation and calls for an end to the policy.

While Mr Trump claims his administration ended family separation, a federal judge also ordered the reunification of families after Mr Trump signed an executive order last summer to detain families together.

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