Accuracy in Media

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Anderson Cooper called a senior Trump official “Orwellian” for telling the truth about U.S. immigration detention policies. Cooper attacked Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for her testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee.

“To begin with, she played word games over the first visual manifestation of the program, the detention facilities, the human holding pens along the border,” Cooper said. “[T]to say this was simply for the children’s protection does seem kind of Orwellian when you consider what subsequently was done to them. In a sharp break from how past administrations, Republican and Democratic did it, children were separated from their families and then sent to facilities all across the country. Sometimes in the middle of the night, without first making sure the parents would actually be able to locate them later. And many of them couldn’t. That, and not the holding facilities, was what drew the outrage. And the administration actually embraced it because they viewed such dire consequences. It was a feature. It wasn’t a bug. This was touted as a tough but necessary message to send anyone thinking about crossing the border with children, which is dangerous, that it was supposed to be a deterrent. they used the word. officials are on the record talking about it very clearly, even on TV.”

Yet Cooper’s critique is inaccurate; Franco Ordoñez and Anita Kuma from McClatchy reported about how “Obama prosecuted mothers for coming to the United States illegally. He fast tracked deportations. And yes, he housed unaccompanied children in tent cities. For much of the country — and President Donald Trump — the prevailing belief is that Obama was the president who went easier on immigrants. Neither Obama nor Democrats created Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, which calls for every illegal border crosser to be prosecuted and leads to their children being detained in separate facilities before being shipped to a shelter and eventually a sponsor family. But Obama’s policy helped create the road map of enforcement that Trump has been following — and building on.”

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