AP Fact Check: Michelle Obama Misled American Public on Trump Immigration Policy



Former First Lady Michelle Obama woefully misled the American public regarding a Trump administration immigration policy at the Democratic National Convention (DNC), according to an Associated Press (AP) fact check.

“[Americans] watch in horror as children are torn from their families and thrown into cages,” Obama asserted in a pre-recorded video played at the convention on Monday.

The distorted claim did not go unnoticed as the AP quickly pointed out that “the reference to cages is misleading and a matter that Democrats have persistently distorted… Trump used facilities that were built during the Obama-Biden administration to house children at the border.”

The “separation of families” and “children in cages” references made by open borders advocates do not properly depict the detention situation at the southern border. Last year, FAIR spokespersons traveled to various detention centers along the U.S.-Mexico border and confirmed with immigration officials that migrant families were only separated under limited circumstances and that the so-called “cages” were actually chain-link fences to segregate various categories of detainees for their own safety and protection.

In 2018, the Trump administration (keep in mind this policy is no longer in effect), attempted to prosecute all migrants crossing the border illegally in an effort to deter illegal border crossers. Due to existing federal laws, parents could not be placed with a child in detention (for the child’s own protection).

Additionally, the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border occurred before the Trump administration. Even under the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would temporarily separate children from alleged parents/guardians if the parent/guardian was found to be a risk to the child, if they had criminal charges in the United States, or if they simply could not verify that there was a family relationship between the individuals.

There are no “cages” at detention centers holding children either. Instead, chain-linked fences separate migrants by age and gender. This procedure is done to protect the well-being of migrants and ensures adult males are not in the same temporary holding conditions as women or young children. Migrants travel to the U.S.-Mexico border with little to no documentation, so it is difficult to immediately determine if an individual is a threat to the detained population. There is documented evidence of human smugglers, drug traffickers, gang members, and even terrorists attempting to come through the southern border.

Michelle Obama’s speech paints the Trump administration as inhumane and anti-immigrant despite her own husband enforcing these same immigration policies and procedures under his administration. Obama’s comments were so deceitful that not even the left-leaning AP could hold back from separating fact from fiction.

About Author

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Matthew joined FAIR in 2018 as FAIR’s communications specialist. Matthew is a primary media contact for the organization and assists with all of the organization’s communication activities. He brings previous experience in government research, writing, and communications. Before joining FAIR, Matthew worked in the Wisconsin State Senate as well as a Wisconsin political non-profit. Matthew holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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