In a June 2014 interview with ABC’s Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos, President Barack Obama warned Central Americans not to send children unaccompanied or with human smugglers to the U.S.-Mexico border due to the dangers they face on the trek.
“There’s a humanitarian crisis on the border,” Stephanopoulos began. “Some of your critics have said you need to speak out more directly to the people of Central America and say, don’t come. If you come, you will be deported.”
“We actually — we’ve done that,” replied Obama. “The problem is that, under current law, once the kids come across the border, there’s a system in which we’re supposed to process them, take care of them, until we can send them back.”
Seeking a refined response from the president, the ABC anchor asked if the message his administration was projecting to Central Americans was, “don’t come.”
“Our message absolutely is don’t send your children unaccompanied on trains or through a bunch of smugglers,” the president affirmed. “That is our direct message to families in Central America.”
“Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they’ll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it.”
The Obama-Stephanopoulos sitdown has resurfaced on social media as the media works overtime to conflate the number of minors being taken from their families at the border with those transported by human smugglers.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told reporters on Monday that the “vast, vast majority” of the 12,000 minors detained by border agents were brought to the Southern border by human smugglers.
The Justice Department on April 6 instituted a “zero-tolerance” immigration policy designed to decrease illegal border crossings, which has resulted in nearly 2,000 children being separated from adults between April 19 and May 31.