It was quite a moment during the final debate between President Trump and Joe Biden when they were discussing immigration and Biden tried to gain the moral high ground on the issue. Trump was clearly prepared for the attack.
Kristen Welker began the topic by saying to Trump, “Your administration separated children from their families at the border,” before referring to a recent story that the parents of 500 kids at the border can’t be located.
Trump explained that children aren’t just brought here by their families, but by coyotes and cartels as a means of getting into the United States.
When pressed on how he’ll reunite the kids with their families, Trump pointed out that it was the Obama-Biden administration that built the cages and began the policy of child separation.
Biden accused President Trump of implementing child separation as a disincentive for illegal immigrants to come to this country
“They got separated from their parents,” Biden argued. “And it makes us a laughing stock and violates every notion of who we are as a nation.”
“They did it,” Trump retorted. “We changed the policy.”
“We did not separate—”
“Who built the cages? Who built the cages, Joe?” Trump asked Biden.
“Let’s talk about what we’re talking about. What happened? Parents, their kids were ripped from their arms and separated. And now they cannot find over 500 sets of those parents and those kids are alone, nowhere to go, nowhere to go. It’s criminal. It’s criminal.”
Trump then pressed Biden again with the question, “Who built the cages?” And a sullen Joe Biden refused to even attempt to answer the question.
Here’s why Joe couldn’t answer the question: because he and Barack Obama built the cages and he knows it.
Back in June 2019, Barack Obama’s former ICE chief, Thomas Homan, acknowledged at a conference hosted by the Center for Immigration Studies that the “cages” Democrats blamed on Trump were the product of the Obama administration. “I’ve been to that facility, where they talk about cages. That facility was built under President Obama under (Homeland Security) Secretary Jeh Johnson. I was there because I was there when it was built,” Homan said.
Here’s a photo of Obama-Biden DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson touring one such facility back in 2014. As you can see, he’s walking past these cages. You can even see kids sleeping on the floor.
"Who built the cages, Joe?" —@realDonaldTrump
Here's Jeh Johnson, DHS Secretary under Obama-Biden, touring an immigrant detention center, with kids in cages in the background, in 2014. pic.twitter.com/OvfHk1ILXy
— Matt Margolis 🇺🇸 (@mattmargolis) October 23, 2020
Even the left-wing fact-checking site Snopes admitted that the Obama administration built these cages. “Images of children behind chain-link fencing were widely seen at a site in McAllen, Texas, that had been converted from a warehouse to an immigrant detention facility in 2014,” they wrote. “Social media users who defended Trump’s immigration policies also shared a 2014 image of Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson touring a facility in Nogales, Arizona, in 2014, in which the fencing could be seen surrounding migrants there, too.”
And the conditions Obama and Biden kept the kids in were terrible.
In July 2015, a district court judge found the Obama-Biden administration to be in violation of the Flores Agreement, which requires the government to provide safe and sanitary conditions for immigrant minors, including food, drinking water, medical care, and other accommodations. The New York Times reported the following on the ruling:
In a decision late Friday roundly rejecting the administration’s arguments for holding the families, Judge Dolly M. Gee of Federal District Court for the Central District of California found that two detention centers in Texas that the administration opened last summer fail to meet minimum legal requirements of the 1997 settlement for facilities housing children.
Judge Gee also found that migrant children had been held in “widespread deplorable conditions” in Border Patrol stations after they were first caught, and she said the authorities had “wholly failed” to provide the “safe and sanitary” conditions required for children even in temporary cells.
The opinion was a significant legal blow to detention policies ordered by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in response to an influx of children and parents, mostly from Central America, across the border in South Texas last summer. In her 25-page ruling, Judge Gee gave a withering critique of the administration’s positions, declaring them “unpersuasive” and “dubious” and saying officials had ignored “unambiguous” terms of the settlement.
The Obama-Biden administration not only fought the ruling but continued to “detain children in deplorable and unsanitary conditions in CBP facilities in violation of the settlement and the court’s orders.”
Funny that Biden didn’t bring that up.
As for Biden’s denial that families were ever separated at the border by the Obama-Biden administration, he was lying again. Separation of families at the border was actually a continuation of an existing policy that actually preceded the Obama-Biden administration, but was never stopped during their eight years in power. So, yes, the Obama-Biden administration absolutely separated families at the border; the Trump administration changed the policy.
And what about Joe Biden’s apparent denial that children were being trafficked into this country by coyotes and cartels? According to Biden, kids were only being brought into this country by their parents. This is not true. According to a report from last year, “Since 2007, there have been over 34,000 sex-trafficking cases reported in the United States. Approximately 600 of the cases annually involved foreign nationals smuggling men, women, and children across our southern border.” I guess these kids don’t matter to Joe Biden.
In fact, the Obama-Biden administration was terrible at protecting immigrant children. In January 2016 the Washington Post reported that the Obama-Biden administration “failed to protect thousands of Central American children who have flooded across the U.S. border since 2011, leaving them vulnerable to traffickers and to abuses at the hands of government-approved caretakers.” Under Obama and Biden, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of the HHS Department, “failed to do proper background checks of adults who claimed the children, allowed sponsors to take custody of multiple unrelated children, and regularly placed children in homes without visiting the locations.”
Joe Biden’s immigration record is despicable, and Trump called him out on it.
Matt Margolis is the author of the new book Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis