Trump Can’t Blame His Own Cruelty on Obama’s Flawed Record

Trump, under fire for separating immigrant children from their families and detaining them in inhumane conditions, has falsely claimed that Obama started the policy of family separation.

Obama’s policies for migrant children and immigration were not perfect. He presided over a record number of deportations, while also offering people brought here as children without documentation the right to legally stay and work in this country.

In 2014, the Obama administration sent over a thousand child migrants to the same Army base where Trump is being criticized for sending children now.

Obama was a mixed bag, and certainly flawed. But while his administration did detain child migrants who arrived alone, family separation was rare. And camp conditions appear to have been far more humane.

Back around 2010, I visited one of the group homes where undocumented immigrant children who’d come to this country unaccompanied were held under Obama. It was a group home, not a detention center.

The youngest were about 12. There were no infants and toddlers, because nobody sent infants and toddlers to a foreign country on their own. They stayed in the home until they could be reunited with their families.

The administration’s priority was reuniting families — either with family in the United States, or sometimes by deportation. It wasn’t a perfect policy, but it didn’t prioritize separation or deliberate mistreatment.

I visited because my friend was there working as the children’s therapist. (Note that the children had a therapist! The Trump administration has fought in court against admitting even medical doctors.) He invited me to come see his workplace one day.

Most of the kids were out on a field trip to a sports game. (They went on field trips!) I could see that all of the children had beds, and it felt a bit like a dorm.

It wasn’t ideal —  children should be with their families, not in detention centers. But I at least came away with the sense that the government was trying to solve that problem, not causing it on purpose.

The adults involved all cared about the children and wanted to do what they could for the kids’ well being. That was the impression I got, and my friend who worked as the children’s therapist concurs.

As you have likely seen in the news, that isn’t what is going on now. The U.S. government is now deliberately separating children from their parents, placing them in overcrowded detention centers (not group homes), and holding them in deeply inhumane conditions. I doubt they’re taking them on field trips.

When criticized, Trump often likes to blame things on Obama. He claims that Obama caused all the problems, and he is now solving them.

In this case, it’s hardly a matter of black and white. Obama’s record on immigration and undocumented children was flawed. But the small part that I saw wasn’t remotely as cruel as what we’re seeing now.

More articles by:
February 25, 2020
Michael Hudson
The Democrats’ Quandary: In a Struggle Between Oligarchy and Democracy, Something Must Give
Paul Street
The “Liberal” Media’s Propaganda War on Bernie Sanders
Sheldon Richman
The Non-Intervention Principle
Nicholas Levis
The Real Meaning of Red Scare 3.0
John Feffer
Cleaning Up Trump’s Global Mess
David Swanson
How Are We Going to Pay for Saving Trillions of Dollars?
Ralph Nader
Three Major News Stories That Need To Be Exposed
John Eskow
What Will You Do If the Democrats Steal It from Sanders?
Dean Baker
What If Buttigieg Said That He Doesn’t Accept the “Fashionable” View That Climate Change is a Problem?
Jack Rasmus
The Nevada Caucus and the Desperation of Democrat Elites
Howard Lisnoff
The Powerful Are Going After Jane Fonda Again
Binoy Kampmark
Viral Losses: Australian Universities, Coronavirus and Greed
John W. Whitehead
Gun-Toting Cops Endanger Students and Turn Schools into Prisons
Marshall Sahlins
David Brooks, Public Intellectual
February 24, 2020
Stephen Corry
New Deal for Nature: Paying the Emperor to Fence the Wind
M. K. Bhadrakumar
How India’s Modi is Playing on Trump’s Ego to His Advantage
Jennifer Matsui
Tycoon Battle-Bots Battle Bernie
Robert Fisk
There’s Little Chance for Change in Lebanon, Except for More Suffering
Rob Wallace
Connecting the Coronavirus to Agriculture
Bill Spence
Burning the Future: the Growing Anger of Young Australians
Eleanor Eagan
As the Primary Race Heats Up, Candidates Forget Principled Campaign Finance Stands
Binoy Kampmark
The Priorities of General Motors: Ditching Holden
George Wuerthner
Trojan Horse Timber Sales on the Bitterroot
Rick Meis
Public Lands “Collaboration” is Lousy Management
David Swanson
Bloomberg Has Spent Enough to Give a Nickel to Every Person Whose Life He’s Ever Damaged
Peter Cohen
What Tomorrow May Bring: Politics of the People
Peter Harrison
Is It as Impossible to Build Jerusalem as It is to Escape Babylon?
Weekend Edition
February 21, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Election Con 2020: Exposing Trump’s Deception on the Opioid Epidemic
Joshua Frank
Bloomberg is a Climate Change Con Man
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Billion Dollar Babies
Paul Street
More Real-Time Reflections from Your Friendly South Loop Marxist
Jonathan Latham
Extensive Chemical Safety Fraud Uncovered at German Testing Laboratory
Ramzy Baroud
‘The Donald Trump I know’: Abbas’ UN Speech and the Breakdown of Palestinian Politics
Martha Rosenberg
A Trump Sentence Commutation Attorneys Generals Liked
Ted Rall
Bernie Should Own the Socialist Label
Louis Proyect
Encountering Malcolm X
Kathleen Wallace
The Debate Question That Really Mattered
Jonathan Cook
UN List of Firms Aiding Israel’s Settlements was Dead on Arrival
George Wuerthner
‘Extremists,’ Not Collaborators, Have Kept Wilderness Whole
Colin Todhunter
Apocalypse Now! Insects, Pesticide and a Public Health Crisis  
Stephen Reyna
A Paradoxical Colonel: He Doesn’t Know What He is Talking About, Because He Knows What He is Talking About.
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A New Solar Power Deal From California
Richard Moser
One Winning Way to Build the Peace Movement and One Losing Way
Laiken Jordahl
Trump’s Wall is Destroying the Environment We Worked to Protect
Walden Bello
Duterte Does the Right Thing for a Change