Team Trump’s 3 Bizarre Defenses of Child Separations


Jed Shugerman was quoted in a New York Times article about President Trump’s family separation policy.

The Trump administration has offered three different explanations for the new policy that separates children from their parents at the border. The explanations are contradictory, as Fordham Law School’s Jed Shugerman noted on Twitter. Each one is also deeply problematic on its own.


Explanation #1: Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, has justified the policy based on the biblical command to “obey the laws of the government.” As Slate’s Ruth Graham notes, the same Bible passage has been used to justify slavery, Nazi appeasement and South African apartheid.


Explanation #2. According to President Trump, he has no choice but to separate families, based on current law. And the policy is the Democrats’ fault, because they refuse to negotiate with Republicans on immigration policy.


But his own insistence that Democrats agree to finance a border wall — in exchange for ending family separation — undercuts that position, as The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin points out. “Claiming Democrats are responsible for child separation obviously isn’t true if he refuses to change the policy without concessions,” she writes.


Explanation #3. You can usually rely on Trump to provide the most factually challenging claims among anyone in Washington. Not this time. “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period,” Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary, claimed this weekend.

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