A CBS reporter called out President Trump during his press conference yesterday after one of his questionable claims, causing the president to quickly walk away, according to a tweet from CBS reporter Paula Reid (below).
Reid challenged President Trump to his face when the president once again made a previously discredited assertion that his administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their families at the border had also been performed by the Obama administration.
“Obama had a separation policy. We all had the same policy,” Trump said.
“You did not have it, sir! No, you didn’t!” Reid quickly retorted.
President Trump tried to maintain his composure, alleging that “I tried to do it differently, but Obama had a separation policy, but people don’t like to talk about it.” He pointed at Reid as he spoke, then quickly moved down to another reporter.
As President Trump tried to move on, Reid fired back, “Sir, it was different. You decided to prosecute everyone at the border.”
During his time in office, President Obama deported a record 2.7 million immigrants, a policy that was unfavorable to some and earned him the nickname of “Deporter-In-Chief,” according to the Huffington Post. The Obama administration, prioritizing immigrants with criminal histories, deported many of them over the course of a few months in 2014 following a surge in migrant arrivals. However, children who had entered the country with their parents did not get separated from them, and if a family was deported, they were deported together.
— Paula Reid (@PaulaReidCBS) November 27, 2018
The Flores agreement, a 1997 federal court decision that required children be kept in detention for a maximum of 20 days, applied to both accompanied and unaccompanied minors. The Obama administration honored that ruling, but President Trump has attempted to withdraw from the settlement and replace it with more draconian regulations that would allow children to be separated and detained indefinitely, as reported earlier in the Huffington Post.
“The agencies were surfacing every possible idea,” Cecilia Muñoz, President Obama’s top domestic policy advisor, told The New York Times. “I do remember looking at each other like, ‘We’re not going to do this, are we?’ We spent five minutes thinking it through and concluded that it was a bad idea. The morality of it was clear — that’s not who we are.”
The claim that the Trump administration policy is a continuation of an Obama-era practice is “preposterous,” said Denise Gilman, Director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Texas Law School. “There were occasionally instances where you would find a separated family — maybe like one every six months to a year — and that was usually because there had been some actual individualized concern that there was a trafficking situation or that the parent wasn’t actually the parent.”
Once custody concerns were resolved, “there was pretty immediately reunification,” Gilman told NBC News when they fact-checked the Trump administration claims. “There were not 2,000 kids in two months — it’s not the same universe,” she added.