Close the camps! (‘Obama had ’em, too’)

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Lights For Liberty, Syracuse, July 12, 2019

At our weekly “Close the Camps” protest outside the district office of Congressman John Katko (R-NY 24), a group of four millennial white men walked by and looked at the signs we held.

As they reached the end of our 25-person line, one of the four said, loud and clear, “Obama had ’em, too.”

That’s not a lie, but it’s far from the whole truth.

I am by no means an Obama apologist. His record on immigration is not good. The point here is that Trump’s policies are far more inhumane and cruel, and deliberately so. Families are being humiliated and traumatized. Women and girls are being sexually abused. Kids are dying.

As our duty is to educate and raise awareness, I will print the following facts and have them with me at our next protest.

* Trump falsely claimed that Obama separated kids from their caregivers. Obama detained migrant children who entered the U.S. alone, but he did not have a policy to separate children from caregivers when they crossed the border together.

* Under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, more than 2,700 children were separated from their parents, including families seeking asylum on humanitarian grounds.

* Hundreds of migrant children have also been held by Customs and Border Protection longer than the 72 hours legally allowed.

* A district court ruled that family separation is a violation of the Constitution and ordered separated families reunited. The number of children separated was discovered to be thousands more than the Trump administration initially claimed in court.

* Trump’s former DHS Secretary Nielsen said it had been more than a decade since a child had died in CBP detention until December 2018. Since then, at least four other children have died while detained.

* In 2017, Trump ended Family Case Management, an Obama program which kept families together while their asylum claims were processed. That program cost $36/day per family. It costs taxpayers an estimated $775/day to detain each child in camps.

Sources: Newsweek, AP, Time, NBC, New York Times, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, NPR.


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