President Donald Trump faced a tidal wave of backlash this summer over his administration's "zero tolerance" illegal immigration policy. The media and Trump's opponents alleged it was the catalyst behind thousands of family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The media framed the narrative implying the separations were new. But according to newly appointed Border Patrol chief Carla Provost, that's not true.
What did she say?
In fact, Provost said in an interview this week that the U.S. government has separated families at the border for decades.
"Under all four administrations I have worked under, we have separated families for different reasons," she told TheHill.TV.
"Obviously, the welfare of the child is of utmost concern for us. And we are still separating if that is of concern. If the parent or the guardian has a serious, criminal history, we will still separate them as well," she explained.
Indeed, the Trump administration never held a policy that mandated the separation of families at the border. Separation was merely a side-effect of his "zero tolerance" policy, which mandated every immigrant caught entering the U.S. illegally be criminally prosecuted. It was only then that minors were separated from their parents, since they couldn't be placed in jail together.
Still, the policy mostly affected single adults, Provost said. Only 15 percent of illegal border crossers during the 45 days the policy was in place were families, she explained, according to The Hill.
Trump eventually gave in to unrelenting pressure and signed an executive order in June to end family separations. Nearly all separated children have since been reunited with their parents.
Provost assumed her role as Border Patrol chief this week. She is the first woman to ever hold the position. She had been serving as the acting chief since April 2017.