How do I know? Jeff Sessions said it. Clips below from the transcript of the interview with Hugh Hewitt, emphasis added.
A little preamble: First thing Sessions does is pretend this is only happening to people who don’t come in legally by the ports of entry, of course. Later when legal asylum-seekers are mentioned, he claims they’re mostly liars.
Most are denied, and many of them have no legitimate claim at all. They were just coming here because they’d like to make more money or for some economic reason.
And, just to review, he makes it clear that one intent of the child separation policy is to intimidate prospective immigrants into not entering the USA no matter how desperate their situation at home:
If people don’t want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them. We’ve got to get this message out.
I do think it’s clear, it’s legitimate to warn people who come to the country unlawfully bringing children with them that they can’t expect that they’ll always be kept together.
If you enter legally and are denied, then you entered unlawfully; that’s what he’s saying. So it’s okay to take your kids away.
But the policy has another purpose. Read this carefully:
HH: I understand the prosecution part. But is it necessary to separate the children? Could they not be detained in facilities where at least mothers and infants could remain together?
JS: Well, most are not infants. Most are teenagers, although we do have a number of younger ones now, more than we’ve seen recently. And they are maintained in a very safe environment not by the law enforcement team at Homeland Security, but put with Health and Human Services. And they are kept close by, and if the person pleads guilty, they would be deported promptly, and they can take their children with them. And, but we do, the Homeland Security can only keep these children for 72 hours before they go to Health and Human Services.
Got it? If you plead guilty to entering the USA illegally, we’re sending you back, but we’ll give you your child(ren) back, too.
Just in case you missed it the first time, later in the interview he says:
JS: I’m saying the only thing we can do about this, and certainly, we prefer to keep the children close by. And if we have a prompt hearing, as we do in many cases, they go back home with their children.
Parents, especially mothers, whose children have been taken away will do just about anything to get them back. If someone had taken my sons away from me when they were kids, I would have wanted to kill them. But these moms and dads have been kept in cages and are surrounded by black-uniformed people with guns.
Now let’s go back to those “most” who are denied asylum. The implication is that the denials are legit, that the families weren’t fleeing true danger. But we will never know how many are simply told “Sign here and you’ll get your baby back” in one of those prompt, short hearings.
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