Democrats Blame Trump for Border Deaths, Accuse Administration of Deliberately “Punishing” Kids to Make a Point
Without evidence, Democrats are alleging the Trump administration is deliberately inflicting punishment and death on migrant children and their families. Predictably, the media is amplifying that narrative.
Democrats have amped up their inflammatory rhetoric in recent weeks concerning the humanitarian crisis at the border, from jumping on the false “internment camp” narrative to pushing the absurd Nazi concentration camp comparisons some members of Congress have irresponsibly thrown around over the last week.
But just when you think they couldn’t sink any lower, they did.
On Tuesday, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass (D-CA) made an appearance on CNN’s New Day program to discuss the crisis. During her interview, Bass didn’t just express disagreement with the administration over its immigration policies, she actually accused them of deliberately inflicting “punishment” on children at the border to get Democrats to take the border wall issue more seriously:
“You cannot tell me that the federal government does not have money for toothpaste and soap,” said Bass, a member of the Judiciary Committee and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
“This is inflicted on children as punishment to try to bring Democrats to the table to compromise on the border wall.”
Bass went on to say that families are still being separated at the border despite President Trump’s assertion that the policy has been abandoned.
She added that the treatment of young migrants at the border is a “human rights abuse” and a “stain on our country.”
“How dare you torture children to try to get a compromise out of Democrats? I am sorry, but hearing about children walking around in soiled diapers, hearing about children taking care of toddlers, you are talking about straight-up child abuse, and I think that this needs to be condemned internationally,” she continued.
Watch the interview segment where Bass made the allegations. Note also how host Alisyn Camerota dutifully nods as Bass is talking as though she agrees with her, and also adds what sounds like Democratic talking points to the discussion to amplify Bass’s points:
Later in the day, 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke blamed President Trump for deaths at the border:
As his administration refuses to follow our laws — preventing refugees from presenting themselves for asylum at our ports of entry — they cause families to cross between ports, ensuring greater suffering & death. At the expense of our humanity, not to the benefit of our safety.
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) June 26, 2019
Predictably, the MSM walked the same line as O’Rourke. Numerous news outlets decided to publish the disturbing photo as a way of emphasizing the seriousness of the border issues, with their ultimate insinuation being that Trump is to blame for the crisis. CNN’s Brian Stelter, of course, led the way:
It is tempting to look away. I have been trying to look away from the stories about the deplorable conditions at the border camps. Babies taking care of babies. Migrants pleading for help. Maybe you have been trying to avoid it too. But we can't. https://t.co/3MWG9knkA1
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 26, 2019
CNN's @ChrisCuomo discussing the photo of a dead child and her dad: There was "debate within news organizations — whether to show it — that's not unusual. We're worried about the startling effect of this grisly reality." But the reality is, "this is terrible…" It must be seen…
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 26, 2019
On their website, Vox declared that the photo “shows the true nature of Trump’s immigration policy.”
Here are some things to keep in mind, and questions to ask, after reading the super hot takes from Democrats and their mainstream media allies on the deaths at the border and the unacceptable conditions at some of the detention centers:
1) Regarding the heartbreaking story of the migrant father and his young daughter, the AP’s reporting on this story suggested that the two of them – along with the mother – sought asylum due to the violence in El Salvador and that the father had grown frustrated with the asylum process:
According to [journalist Julia] Le Duc’s reporting for La Jornada, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, frustrated because the family from El Salvador was unable to present themselves to U.S. authorities and request asylum, swam across the river on Sunday with his daughter, Valeria.
However, a family member contradicted that narrative, according to the New York Times:
Some are fleeing gangs that cripple the region and kill wantonly. Others are seeking an economic lifeline.
Such was the case with Mr. Martínez and his wife, who left El Salvador in early April intent on starting fresh in the United States, according to Jorge Beltran, a reporter for El Diario de Hoy in El Salvador who interviewed some of the couple’s relatives.
“They went for the American dream,” Wendy Joanna Martínez de Romero, said from her home in El Salvador.
Mr. Martínez quit his job at Papa John’s, where he had earned about $350 a month. By then, his wife had already left her job as a cashier at a Chinese restaurant to take care of their daughter.
The couple lived with Mr. Martínez’s mother in the community of Altavista, a massive housing complex of tiny concrete houses east of San Salvador, according to Mr. Beltran.
Though Altavista is under the control of gangs, the couple was not fleeing from violence, Rosa Ramírez, Mr. Martínez’s mother, told him. Rather, the grind of surviving as a family on $10 a day had become unmanageable.
The reason this distinction is so important is that the initial framing of this story made it sound like the family of three were so desperate to get away from the violence in El Salvador that they were willing to risk their lives trying to cross the Rio Grande after growing frustrated by the asylum “metering” system. As it turns out, they are like so many other immigrant families who wanted to cross the border for better economic opportunities:
This is an important distinction as the narrative that’s been building so far is that the family was desperate to enter the U.S. because of “metering” — a system that puts asylum seekers in a queue to apply for asylum — was a factor in the family’s decision to attempt to cross the river rather than wait:
Unfortunately, some of the decisions they made during their journey cost two of them their lives. It is tragic, heartbreaking. But it’s no more Trump’s fault than it is President Obama’s, who also had to deal with the issue of deaths at the border from immigrants who decided to take the dangerous journey.
2) Republicans have been screaming about conditions on the ground at the border for months, practically begging Democrats to work with them on immigration reform, the wall, and much-needed funding to alleviate the humanitarian issues.
But up until the last few weeks, Democrats continuously claimed Republicans were lying about there being a crisis on the border, with some even calling it “manufactured.” The reason for their flip flop is, naturally, politics. Why won’t the mainstream media call them out on this?
3) Appalling conditions at the border existed well before Trump’s administration, so much so that even one CNN anchor has been willing to acknowledge it. They were also documented by a few scattered liberal websites at the time, and shortly after that. But the level of media outrage over the immigration situation under the Obama administration was almost non-existent, especially compared to the red alerts we’re subjected to by them on an almost daily basis on the issue now.
4) In spite of the increased number of immigrants that have attempted to cross the border during Trump’s presidency and the deportations that have followed for some, the administration still lags well behind Obama’s first term numbers on deportations.
6) In the media’s reporting of Bass’s comments and O’Rourke’s, not a single one of them have added the “without evidence” qualifier that they typically do with unverifiable claims coming from the Trump administration. Why?
7) The truth of the matter is that a staggering number of unaccompanied minors are attempting to cross the border. There are not enough boots on the ground in the detention centers to give each minor individual attention. Of course, they are not just going to be allowed to coast through the border without immigration officials trying to find an adult who can accompany them (if not a family member).
These stats highlight just why it’s so crucial for the left to work with the right on alleviating the problems at the border rather than demagoguing the issue of funding for humanitarian aid and the wall. Unfortunately, all too many Democrats are more interested in playing politics and making outrageous, unsubstantiated accusations rather than meet in the middle.
People who point out the conditions at the border existed well before Trump are frequently accused by Democrats of “whataboutism,” but it’s not true, and completely misses the point. The point is not made to dismiss the issue, but instead to put things in perspective. What people who bring up the pre-Trump years are saying is that hey, this is a longtime problem. Quit sensationalizing this issue for political gain. We need to put some reforms and other solutions in place to alleviate these problems because they are going to get worse if we do nothing.
If we had a mainstream media that was consistent and not biased, they’d demand to know from Democrats why they have deliberately withheld funding that would help children at the border. They’d also ask why Democrats denied there was an urgent situation at the border until recently. They even wouldn’t pretend this issue magically started under Trump.
But our media, too, is complicit in the setting of many false narratives about the border situation. Conditions will continue to deteriorate, and illegal immigrants will continue to suffer and die until journalists start reporting the truth and putting things in context instead of parroting left-wing talking points because “Orange Man Bad.”
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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