He urged Americans in a Saturday morning tweet to “put pressure” on the Democrats to “end the horrible law that separates children from there [sic] parents.”
Despite what Trump tweeted, there is no law requiring children to be separated from their parents. The separation policy was adopted by his own administration. It was underscored in a speech in early May by Attorney General Jeff Sessions (in the video above).
The policy has been hit with a firestorm of criticism, with some even comparing the increasing dehumanization of immigrants in America as similar to the ugly atmosphere in Germany before the Holocaust.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) took first lady Melania Trump to task in light of her new “Be Best” mission for children. “Separating toddlers from parents is definitely not a ‘Be Best’ policy,” he tweeted. “Are you going to do anything about it?”
In chilling Senate testimony last month, a Health and Human Services official said the government was unable to locate nearly 1,500 children who had been released from its custody. Steve Wagner, acting assistant secretary with the Administration for Children and Families of HHS, insisted that the federal agency is “not legally responsible for children” once they’re handed over to a sponsor.
Until recently, families that illegally crossed the Mexican border together generally faced civil deportation proceedings. But as of May, the Trump administration is sending all parents to jails run by the U.S. Marshals Service. Because migrant children cannot be held in jails, they are placed elsewhere by the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement. Before the Trump administration, the office handled children who crossed the border alone.
White House chief of staff John Kelly, who called the harsh new policy a “technique” and a “tough deterrent,” explained earlier this month to NPR: “They’ll be sent to foster care — or whatever. But the big point is they elected to come illegally into the United States.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story identified Ted Lieu as a U.S. senator. He is a U.S. representative.