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Ben Shapiro: The media are 'lying' to you about Trump separating families

The media are "lying" to America about family separations at the border, according to conservative commentator Ben Shapiro. Trump isn't to blame for the policy, but rather a 1997 federal government settlement and appeals court ruling, he noted. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Over the past several weeks, hype over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” illegal immigration policy has reached a fever pitch, especially in the mainstream media, which blames President Donald Trump for separating children from parents at the border.

The media claim Trump can easily fix the problem, yet is stonewalling to allegedly push his immigration agenda. Trump created the problem and is the only one who can fix it, the narrative goes.

However, according to conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, the media are lying to your face. Trump cannot single-handedly stop what’s happening at the border because it’s not a problem he created.

On Monday, Shapiro debunked lies the media has pushed to bolster its agenda against the White House.

1. Trump did not establish a policy to separate children from parents.

It’s perhaps the lie that has been most repeated in the media. One MSNBC correspondent even voiced her anger on Twitter over the administration’s insistence that it did not create a policy to separate families.

However, according to Shapiro, Trump isn't to blame for the policy, but rather a 1997 federal government settlement and appeals court ruling.

In 1997, the federal government made an agreement in a case called Flores not to keep unaccompanied illegal immigrant children in custody beyond 20 days. The settlement said nothing about accompanied illegal immigrant children – children who crossed the border with their parents. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals then ruled that accompanied children also could not be held in custody under the terms of the settlement. This meant that the government either had to release whole families, or that the government had to separate parents from children.

Left-leaning fact-checking website Snopes fact checked this claim and ruled it false. However, as Shapiro noted, the settlement made no mention of illegal immigrant children. The law mandates that unaccompanied minors found in the U.S. be held in government custody. This has been a longstanding legal requirement.

But what's different now is that under the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy, each adult who enters the U.S. illegally is being criminally prosecuted, while previous administrations exercised more discretion, usually only prosecuting those arrested for drug-related offenses and those with previous criminal records.

The increase in criminal prosecutions has lead to an increase in family separations, since children cannot follow their parents to jail or court.

2. Immigrants seeking asylum are not being punished for...seeking asylum.

Many in the left-leaning media have claimed that under the Trump administration, the U.S. is becoming increasingly hostile toward refugees and immigrants seeking asylum. Most of these asylum-seekers come from war-torn Central America, which is facing a massive problem with drug cartels and brutal street gangs.

Liberal magazine The Nation claimed last month: "ICE Is Sending a Message to the World’s Asylum Seekers: The US Is No Place of Refuge: Separating children from their family members, imposing excessively long detention, and other ways the immigration bureaucracy is making life impossible for asylum seekers."

However, according to Shapiro, these claims could not be further from the truth:

This is plainly untrue as well. Immigrants who come to points of entry to seek asylum aren’t actually illegally in the country – they’re not arrested. They’re processed through ICE, and their children stay with them. If, however, illegal immigrants cross the border illegally, the Trump administration now treats them as criminals. If they choose deportation, they aren’t separated from their kids; if they choose to apply for asylum, they stay in the country longer than 20 days, and their kids have to be removed by operation of law.

Indeed, potential refugees are more than welcome to come to the U.S., the government just asks they do it legally.

As of the end of May, the U.S. had admitted more than 14,000 refugees in fiscal year 2018, according to data from the Refugee Processing Center. The Trump administration has capped the allowable number of refugees in a single fiscal year at 45,000.

3. Immigrant children are being treated like animals in cages.

Picture after picture has circulated online purportedly showing illegal immigrant children living in horrid conditions like pack rats in "cages." Don't mind the fact that many of these images have been debunked.

However, the poor conditions of the child detention centers is not new — at all. Many centers are just as bad as they were in the Obama administration.

Brandon Darby of Breitbart Texas recently shared images he took in 2014, when the Obama administration faced an influx of unaccompanied minors fleeing violence in Central America.

However, not all detention centers are bad, as many of them provide comfortable living for children, schooling and health care.

CNN, which recently toured a facility in Brownsville, Texas, described:

The massive shelter retains a warehouse vibe — noisy but highly organized, with scores of staffers leading skeins of boys to various activities. In recreation rooms, some boys watched a soccer match on TV; some took part in a tai chi class; others played pool or foosball (in one case with a cue ball). Still others sat in classrooms. Because of the crowding, the boys attend school in six-hour morning or afternoon shifts, five days a week. The bedrooms reporters were shown seemed antiseptically clean…

Though they have a variety of scheduled activities to keep them busy, the boys spend almost all their time indoors at the former superstore, aside from one hour a day outside for PE and another hour of free time they can spend on the basketball courts or soccer fields adjacent to the shelter building. Many of the boys stared at the visitors with obvious curiosity, greeting reporters with “Hola” or “Buenas tardes” as they walked by.

How can the separation end?

As it goes, the Trump administration is only enforcing la aw already on the books — albeit very strictly. So if there is to be a change, it will have to come from the halls of Congress, which Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) took a step toward on Monday.

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