Trump vs. Obama: Two Approaches to Migrant Families and Minors

Dention of immigrant children - 2014 and 2018
U.S. Government Photos

Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump were both faced with the issue of unaccompanied minors and family units following the passage of a law by a Democrat-controlled Congress and signed by President George W. Bush in 2008. The law, intended to curb human smuggling, became a magnet for families and children to the U.S. border.

“The most obvious and direct cause of the flood of children from Central America is the 2008 human trafficking law that ended the rapid deportation of unaccompanied minors who come illegally from countries other than Mexico and Canada,” the Washington Post wrote in July 2014. “The law, which cleared both houses of Congress by unanimous consent and was signed by George W. Bush in his final days in office, was bipartisan and well intentioned — but it was exploited by the very traffickers it was meant to target, who encouraged this huge emigration of children from Central America.”

The Trump Administration could not agree more with the Post’s article.

“Once again it is Congress’s job to change the law. We’re calling on them to do exactly that,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Monday in response to criticism of President Trump’s policies regarding families and minors at the border by former First Lady Laura Bush, Breitbart News’ John Nolte reported.

“And, frankly, this law was actually signed into effect in 2008 under her husband’s leadership, not under this administration,” she added. “We’re not the one’s responsible for creating this problem; we’ve inherited it. But we’re actually the first administration stepping up and trying to fix it.”

The manner in which Presidents Obama and Trump handled what became an overwhelming crisis stands in sharp contrast.

President Obama:

  • Creates magnet for families and minors with the implementation of the DACA Program.
  • Expands magnet with the implementation of DAPA for parents.
  • Keeps news of surging migrant families and minors quiet until June 2014.
  • Warehouses large numbers of families and minors in overcrowded and unsafe conditions.
  • Implements “Catch and Release 2.0,” program to release minors and families into U.S. interior.
  • Prohibits media and congressional leaders from photographing conditions in detention centers.
  • Orders deployment of National Guard to supplement border security efforts.

President Trump:

  • Rescinds DAPA program.
  • Orders end of DACA program and urges Congress to find a permanent solution.
  • Issues order to stop migrant family “caravans” at the border to prevent overcrowding at shelters.
  • Issues “zero-tolerance” policy for first-time border crossers.
  • Orders increased prosecution of repeat border crossers.
  • Implements policy to remove minors from parents being prosecuted for illegally crossing the border.
  • Improves the quality of living conditions for detained minors.
  • Orders deployment of National Guard to supplement border security efforts.
  • Proposes border walls and fencing to replace decaying infrastructure and increase border security.
  • Invites media and congressional leaders to tour new family and minors detention and processing centers.

Shortly before President Obama’s re-election in 2012, he introduced a program that allowed some young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents to remain in the U.S. without fear of removal. The administration action became known as the Deferred Action Against Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The impact on the southwest border was immediate as scores of families and unaccompanied minors began to move to the southern border with hopes of being included in similar programs in the future.

Images published by Breitbart News in 2014 and 2018.

Images published by Breitbart News in 2014 and 2018.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Southwest Border Migration Reports began to show a sharp rise in the apprehensions of migrants. This stood in sharp contrast to the years of decline in border apprehensions from 2000 to 2012.

A surge of unaccompanied minors and families began to cross the U.S.-Mexico Border, mostly in Texas, following the Obama Administration’s adoption of catch and release procedures.

News of this surge remained mostly unreported until June 5, 2014 when Breitbart Texas Editor-in-Chief Brandon Darby published leaked Border Patrol images revealing the true numbers of UACs crossing the border, overwhelming federal agencies tasked with processing and “warehousing” these “children.”

See all 30 images published by Brandon Darby via Breitbart Texas in June 2014:

This month, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released video of the Southwest Key immigrant detention facility used to house children whose parents are being prosecuted for immigration violations.

During a debate on the Senate floor in July 2014, Senators agreed the law signed by George W. Bush appeared to be the cause of the wave of migrant children and families, the Post article continued. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) called it “the root of it or the main part of it,” while Senator John Cornyn said, “We need to change that 2008 law” because it creates a perception that “these immigrants who come across will not be detained.”

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTXGAB, and Facebook.

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