The Trump administration is variously trying to disclaim its policy of separating immigrant children, blame the policy it says it doesn’t have on Congress, and tell you how awesome and necessary the policy it says it doesn’t have is. The facts show that separating kids is not some accidental byproduct of the law but the intended goal of a conscious choice made by senior administration officials and telegraphed to enforcement personnel from the very beginning.
Separation was always the goal: NBC News reported on Tuesday that the Department of Homeland Security was telling asylum officers as early as February 2, 2017—not even a month after Trump took office—that it was considering separating immigrant children from their parents in order to deter asylum applications. A month later, then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, when asked if he planned to separate immigrant children from their parents, told Wolf Blitzer “Yes, I am considering in order to deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network, I am considering exactly that.”
And as the policy has been implemented, Trump officials have lined up to say, yep, it’s our policy choice. Trump consigliere Stephen Miller told The New York Times “It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry, period.”