Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy on immigrants coming into the U.S. illegally. Over the Father’s Day weekend, the mainstream media went berserk over the fact that enforcing the law means that adults who have come into this country illegally will face jail time, and if those adults are parents they will be separated from their children. Why? Because we don’t put children in jail in this country -- it’s illegal.
On “the News and Why it Matters” today, the team broke down some of the popular narratives circulating in the mainstream media.
Myth: Trump passed a law that separates immigrant parents from their children.
Actually, President Trump's policy is to enforce the current laws. In 1997, the federal government ruled not to keep unaccompanied illegal immigrant children in custody for more than 20 days in a case called 'Flores.' The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals then added accompanied children to the agreement, meaning that the government had to either separate children from their parents or release the whole family.
"When we have a prosecution of someone who has broken the law, we want to be able to separate parent and child," said Stu Burguiere. "I mean, if taken to the extreme of a murderer or rapist, do we want the child to hang out in the prison cell?"
He added that the issue is not really one of whether we separate parents and children when the parent has committed a crime, but of whether crossing the border illegally is a crime. Nobody wants to see children put in jail or taken away from parents, so the easy thing to do is to just let these people go as if crossing the border illegally isn't an issue.
"When we have a law, you enforce the law. If you want the law to go away, overturn it, change it," said Stu. "But if the law is in place, you need to actually follow through with it, and that's what Trump is doing here."
Myth: Immigrants seeking asylum are being thrown in jail and their children are put in facilities that are like "concentration camps."
Not true. Immigrants who come to points of entry seeking asylum are not arrested. They are processed through Immigration and Customs Enforcement and families stay together. Also, immigrants who are arrested for entering the country illegally can choose deportation and they will not be separated from their children. They can then apply for asylum.
As far as detention centers being like "concentration camps" rumors go, details have emerged that reveal what life inside the detention centers is really like. Read more on this here. Detail have also re-emerged showing what detention centers were like in 2014. Read more about that here.
Watch the video clip above to hear more.