The left-wing bias of popular “fact-checking” sites like Snopes or Politfact has been well documented for years. So when Snopes took on the task of fact-checking the claim “The Obama administration, not the Trump administration, built the cages that hold many immigrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border,” I expected them to, at the very least, rate it as “Half-True” or “False” and come up with some longwinded explanation with some absurd standard for why the Obama administration was in the clear. Last year, FactCheck.org couldn’t bring itself to admit that family separations happened under Obama, even though their research proved it did. But alas, Snopes couldn’t find a way to clear the Obama administration on this one, and had no choice but to rate the claim as true.
But then Trump stated, “Obama built the cages. I didn’t build them. Obama built them.”
That portion of Trump’s commentary is true. 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. 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. That image was taken during a spike in the number of unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central American countries.
Of course when you have two former Obama administration officials (Obama’s DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, and executive associate director of ICE Thomas Homan) both on the record on the issue, in addition to media reporting at the time it’s really hard to claim anything to the contrary.
Last year, Snopes also had to admit that the Obama administration placed immigrant children with human traffickers. I’m sure that wasn’t an easy admission for them either, especially since concerns about human trafficking are why children are separated from adults in the first place.
Matt Margolis is the author of the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published on July 30, 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis