Donald Trump is aware of how bad the problem has become at the U.S. border as children are being taken from their families but doesn’t want to back down from the policy for fear of looking weak, a new report claims.
In the last week, reports have emerged from inside the facilities where children of immigrants are being held after crossing the U.S. border. Pictures have shown young children huddled together in chain-link cages, and secretly filmed audio showed a border patrol agent mocking a young girl as she cried in fear from being taken from her parents. A report from the news site Axios claimed that Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, even showed him some of the pictures of the facilities in a personal appeal, just as she had done with pictures of a gas attack that killed children in Syria. That stood in contrast to the other pictures Trump had been shown by members of his administration painting the facilities as light and carefree, showing migrant children playing video games and playing outside.
The appeal had a strong effect on Trump, the report noted, but not enough to move him to end the policy. Though Trump’s administration has publicly blamed Democrats for the policy that takes children from their parents, other members including Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that they are taking this step as a deterrent to other immigrants from entering the United States.
Donald Trump has said it is up to Congress to act and repeal what he said are loopholes that are behind the policies, even as critics including many within his own party have said Trump has the power to end the separation if he wishes.
As Axios reported, Trump is not willing to back down for fear that he will be seen as weak.
“He’s doing it to press the case with Congress,” the official said. “He’s moved personally, but also doesn’t want to look weak. He feels boxed in, is frustrated and knows it’s bad politics — but also understands it’s not a fight he can back down from.”
Meanwhile, pressure is growing on Donald Trump to reverse the policy. Democrats in the Senate have put forth a bill that would put an end to the practice of separating children from their parents, and many have painted Trump as uncaring in the face of the crisis. Ted Lieu, one of Trump’s chief critics in Congress, has even publicly referred to the facilities as “baby jails,” The Hill noted. But Trump officials have remained resolute, defending the policy.