Jeff Sessions’ Deceitful Spin on Family Separation

In an interview on Tuesday morning with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Attorney General Jeff Sessions doubled down on his defense of the Trump administration’s practice of tearing apart families seeking refuge in the United States, including those seeking asylum. The interview revealed not only Sessions’ lack of basic empathy and compassion but also his willingness to deceive the public in defending this cruel policy.

During the conversation, Hewitt pushed Sessions to consider the implications of separating a child from his or her parent, even asking if Sessions could imagine his own grandchildren being taken from their parents. Yet Sessions would not be moved, opting instead to paint these devastated, vulnerable parents as criminals who are “just coming here because they’d like to make more money.”

Further questioned on the morality of detaining people seeking asylum, Sessions resorted to outright lies. The issue, Sessions explained, is that people are not pursuing asylum in the correct way, by arriving through a U.S. port of entry: “If you come to the country, you should come through … the port of entry and make a claim of asylum.”  

Here’s what the Attorney General is not saying: Under its family separation policy, asylum seekers who have followed this exact protocol are still having their children ripped away. It happened to both Ms. L and Mirian G, two mothers who are a part of our class-action lawsuit. Fleeing the Congo, Ms. L, arrived at a port of entry near San Diego with her then 6-year-old daughter to seek asylum. Despite having committed no crime and having followed the correct protocol for seeking asylum, Ms. L and her daughter were detained. Four days later, her daughter was taken from her and sent to a government facility in Chicago. Ms. L was sent to an immigration detention center. The mother and daughter were kept apart by 2,000 miles for more than four months until the ACLU intervened on their behalf. Mirian G., an asylum seeker from Honduras, experienced similar cruelty: After presenting herself at port of entry, Border Patrol agents took away her 18-month-old son. She didn’t see him again for more than two months.

Sessions would have us believe that those who follow the rules will not be subjected to this kind of inhumane treatment, but that’s simply untrue. No one seeking asylum, even those not entering through ports of entry, should be treated like a criminal. But for Sessions to claim that the administration is only separating families who cross the border illegally is just wrong. Our clients did everything by the book and still had their children taken from them.

Sessions also spent much of the conversation attempting to portray the administration’s family separation policy as par for the course. “Every time somebody … gets prosecuted in America for a crime, American citizens, and they go to jail, they’re separated from their children,” Sessions argued. Parents seeking refuge in the United States who are prosecuted for crossing the border someplace other than a port of entry, Sessions’ line of reasoning goes, are simply being treated as any American citizen who is incarcerated.

But since when does the government refuse to reunite a parent and child after someone has served her time?

Crossing the border without proper documentation is a misdemeanor that typically carries the penalty of a few days in jail if you’re prosecuted. What the Attorney General failed to mention is that the government is refusing to give kids back to parents once they have served their time. Our client, Ms. C, experienced this firsthand. After Ms. C, an asylum seeker who was prosecuted for entering the country illegally, served her 25-day criminal misdemeanor sentence, she expected to be reunited with her 14-year-old son who had been cruelly taken from her. Instead, Ms. C was forced to wait more than eight months after serving her sentence before the two were reunited.

It is one thing to defend a morally reprehensible policy, but it is another thing entirely to spew lies in making that defense. On Tuesday Sessions crossed that line.

Trump's Family Separation Crisis: How to Help

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Anonymous

Sessions should be thrown in jail

Tom Sessions

I am wondering if the way these children are being treated amounts to imprisonment or false imprisonment. Are the children getting legal representation?

George G. Gilman

Trump/Sessions are not interested in immigration or race. That has nothing to do with this!

Instead Trump is doing detailed research about how a child can survive in a prison environment. He will apply this research for when he is incarcerated in a few months.

Anonymous

Trump and sessions need to be brought up human right violations at the UN! These (2) Nazi’s are starting the same way Germany started prior to concentration camps and the final solution! They need to experience jail and their children torn from them! Never thought I’d ever see my country turn to this horible act! Impeach and imprison there (2) nut jobs and racist!

wonder'n

These guys actually purport to be Christians? Jesus won't have to tell them be gone. They already know they are liars and not of His flock.

Anonymous

JEFF SESSIONS IS A SHAMEFUL, DESPICABLE RACIST. A BOLD LIAR, AN EVIL MAN, A REPROBATE, A HATEFUL EXAMPLE OF BIGOTRY. AN IMMORAL MAN WITH NO CONSCIENCE, AND
A DOWN RIGHT PIECE OF LYING EXCREMENT HE IS SO DECEITFUL AND SO FULL OF A MEAN AND UGLY SPIRIT, SUB-HUMAN > ANIMALS DO NOT TREAT ONE ANOTHER AS 'JEFF SESSIONS' TREATS HUMAN BEINGS, AND ESPECIALLY CHILDREN. Little ones who can not defend themselves; parents of these children, most of whom can not speak the language, will be
revenged by the God, who says, "vengence is mine"!
AND, HOW DARE HE QUOTE THE BIBLE TO DEFEND HIS MAKING THE LIVES OF THE POOR AND INDIGENT A LIVING HELL!! It is said Karma is a #@<*@! Well, when we see the smug and repugnant gleam of this blasphemous moron wiped from his repulsive smile...Wait! he is so dishonest... and to go on a Christian television program to proclaim his bull dung...makes one want to vomit! His actions are shameful! Is he a nazi reincarnate? Is he a fan of Hitler?
God should forbid him from teaching Sunday School. He forgot the ending of Romans 13...as well as 'suffer not the little children'...and "be kind to strangers in a foreign land".
HIS ACTIONS TERRORIZE ME AND MANY OTHERS. HE INSTILLS FEAR AND ANGUISH, TORTURE AND TORMENT, BUT BEYOND THIS, HE CREATES DISPARE AND HOPELESSNESS.

Isaiah

Love to take east coast tours from new york with my mates and surely this will be great time for me as well as i want. Love to be around of it as well as very soon.

Anonymous

The "Family values" party! The great defenders of children from the very moment of conception! Why is this Trumpian gang of child abductor/traffickers not being arrested. Government employment does not provide legal immunity from kidnapping charges or abuse charges. ARREST THEM! Disappearances into military sites in the middle of the night has the stench of dictatorship all over it. Speak up now or forever regret your silence!

Anonymous

Those fearing for their lives carrying children without food and water to seek safe haven will cross the border wherever they are closest to it. Are we so cruel and heartless to deny safe haven to frightened people? Government employees should demonstrate strength of character and compassion. Tell Jeff Sessions, that good Christian hypocrit, "Hell no, I will NOT take a child from his mother. I will NOT transport this child in the middle of the night to a secret site in another state." WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU GOOD CHRISTIANS THINKING?

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