No, President Obama Didn’t Establish Family Separation

Yet again, President Donald Trump has repeated the false claim that former President Barack Obama began the policy of family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border.

On April 9, during a photo op before a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi — another president not exactly known for his outstanding human rights record — Trump stated:

President Obama had child separation. Take a look. The press knows it, you know it, we all know it. I didn’t have – I’m the one that stopped it. President Obama had child separation… President Obama separated children. They had child separation. I was the one that changed it, okay?

As a former high school speech and debate coach, I cringe at Trump’s complete lack of oratorical skills.

But beyond that, Trump is outright telling lies.

Salvador Rizzo, writing for The Washington Post, documents 8 previous occasions over the past year when Trump has repeated the fabricated notion that separating children from their parents at the U.S.- Mexico border was an Obama-era policy.

Even Shepard Smith of Fox News did some fact-checking. On his April 9 show, Smith said that Trump was “separating rhetoric from reality when it comes to immigration in America.” He pointed out that while both George W. Bush and Obama had policies to deport migrants in the country, they “gave children a pass.” Under Obama, “It was not the policy to separate,” Smith added.

In the Obama and Bush eras, children were occasionally separated from their parents at the border, but only in extremely limited circumstances – for instance, if officials believed false claims of parentage were being made, or if they suspected human trafficking.

The Truth

According to Cecilia Muñoz, Obama’s lead adviser for immigration, the Obama administration rejected a plan that called for family separations. By contrast, in mid-2017, the Trump administration began a pilot program for family separations in the El Paso area of Texas.

One year ago, in April 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions introduced a “zero tolerance” policy calling for the prosecution of all adults apprehended crossing the border illegally.

Since minor children cannot be prosecuted with their parents, Trump government officials separated families and labeled the children “unaccompanied minors.” Under a federal consent decree, these children had to be released within 20 days and handed over to a child care facility or a relative.

According to a January report from the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services:

The total number if children separated from a parent or guardian by immigration authorities is unknown. Pursuant to a June 2018 Federal District Court order, HHS has thus far identified 2,737 children in its care at that time who were separated from their parents.

But that number may be far higher.

Parents were moved into the criminal justice system, leading to deportation proceedings, while their children were in care or with a relative. In many, many cases, parents had no idea where their children were.

On June 20, 2018, Trump issued an executive order ending family separation, a policy that his administration had started.

The Trump administration also began the policy of prosecuting all adults for illegal entry. Prior to Trump’s election, undocumented immigrants caught between ports of entry were not generally criminally prosecuted unless they had a criminal record.

The April 9 photo-op ended in a free-for-all scrum, as reporters screamed out their questions which Trump refused to answer.

Why Does Trump Lie So Much?

Trump is either an uninformed idiot or a pathological liar — or both. At the end of 2018, The Washington Post Fact Checker recorded 5,611 “misleading or patently false claims by the president.” In 2017 the publication recorded 1,989 lies. In other words, Trump lied about three times more in his second year in office than his first.

Now it’s 2019, and he may well exceed that record.

The easy answer as to why President Trump lies is that he knows he can lie and get away with it. He lies to please his base, who choose to unquestioningly believe everything the president says, while deliberately ignoring the facts.

But why is Trump driven to lie? According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, known as the DSM, pathological lying is a symptom of personality disorders like narcissism, while also being a disorder in its own right.

Psychiatrist Judith Orloff explains that narcissists have “what’s called empathy deficient disorder” and “when you don’t care about other people, lies don’t seem to matter.”

Pathological liars also don’t hold themselves accountable for anything and therefore don’t apologize for lying. Instead, “they’ll say it’s your fault,” says Orloff. So when journalists try to correct the lies, they become “enemies of the people” and the truth becomes “fake news.”

The good news is that fewer than three in 10 Americans – and fewer than four in 10 Republicans — believe Trump’s lies, according to a Washington Post poll.

Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue/Flickr


Sarah A
Past Member 5 days ago

Thanks for posting

Karen H
Karen H26 days ago

This is another case of Trump Puppets repeating whatever lies he spews without doing any research of their own.

janis k
janis kellerabout a month ago

I don't get it. Your priorities are in the wrong place
Care about the millions of homeless America instead of being so focused on illegals!

Julie D
Julie Dabout a month ago

We know that for the most part, say 99% of the time, everything that comes out of Trump's mouth is a lie. It is almost the only consistency about him. The other would be his jealously and hatred for President Obama and his endeavors to undo any of the good President Obama did for our country. He also never takes any responsibility for any horrible thing he does and always blames others for them when he gets criticized for them, and his favorite two go to's to blame are President Obama and Hillary Clinton, though they never have anything to do with the bad things Trump is up to. Unnecessarily separating children from their parents at the border was never an Obama policy, that has totally been a Donald Trump policy, one he has relished as a fear tactic to discourage immigration. It has caused deaths, it has caused children to be lost in "the system" forever who will never again be reunited with their families, it has been horrible, cruel and a complete disgrace that it is being allowed to happen by our own country. Donald is guilty of crimes against humanity and should be severely prosecuted for them. He is also guilty of lying every time he opens his mouth.

Tabot T
Tabot Tabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing!

Paul B
Paul Babout a month ago

We have to keep in mind what's best for the kids and those who are subject of trafficking.

Paul B
Paul Babout a month ago

You are right, it wasn't an Obama era policy, as it actually started under Clinton as a way to fight child trafficking/smuggling.
But in a controversial decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the most liberal in the country, has interpreted the settlement agreement to apply to “both minors who are accompanied and unaccompanied by their parents.”

In other words, it is the 9th Circuit’s misinterpretation of the Clinton administration’s settlement agreement that doesn’t allow juvenile aliens to stay with their parents who have been detained for unlawful entry into the country.

Bush continued the policy, as did Obama, until such time as he abandoned it (at the expense of MANY poor kids who skated right through with their captors. Real compassion there, right?
The executive order signed by President Donald Trump directs the attorney general to file a request with the federal court in the Flores case to modify the settlement agreement to allow the government “to detain alien families together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings for improper entry or any removal or other immigration proceedings.”
IMO, if there is any suspicion that the child is NOT with their parent or legal guardian, they should separated, for their own protection. If not, then they should be kept together. We have to

Dr. Jan H
Dr. Jan Habout a month ago


Brian F
Brian Fabout a month ago

No Obama didn't create family seperation, he just gave us a horrible Republican healthcare plan instead of what we needed, Medicare for all, criminalized whistle blowers, killed innocent people with drone strikes, increased domestic dirty polluting oil production to record levels, sold out to Wall Street by taking $400,000, not prosecuting one banker, and creating the conditions for this crook Trump to win.

Joanna P
Joanna Pabout a month ago

Why do you put up with political government? Politicians do not understand government. They understand and seek power. Power is not government. Ban politicians and replace them with executive modular government, staff hired on a transparent contract basis, fired immediately targets are not met on budget. All taxes to be replaced by one 5% sales (VAT) tax, no loopholes, no exceptions, private and corporate. Without the gross waste of political resources, a 5% sales tax would be sufficient for all serious, necessary government: infrastructure, health, education, jurisdiction, basic military and not much else.