Yes, The Trump Administration Does Have A Policy That Separates Migrant Families

Jun 18, 2018
Originally published on June 18, 2018 7:06 pm
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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

On a related note is what's happening at the border - separating children from their parents - is this an administration policy? The administration insists it is not. Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of Homeland Security, tweeted last night, quote, "we do not have a policy of separating families at the border, period." Here's what Secretary Nielsen told NPR's John Burnett when he interviewed her on May 10 and asked about family separation.

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KIRSTJEN NIELSEN: Our policy has not changed in that if you break the law, we will refer you for prosecution.

KELLY: Nielsen went on - if you're an adult with a family and you break the law, you'll be prosecuted. And then she said...

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NIELSEN: Operationally, what that means is we will have to separate your family.

KELLY: We will have to separate your family. Previous administrations looked at the same law, though, and decided not to separate families. What the administration argues is that when an adult is prosecuted, they go into federal custody. And any children in tow can't be detained in a federal lockup. So the separation is the results of the new zero tolerance policy, not a policy in and of itself.

Well, we looked it up. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines policy as a course or method of action selected from among alternatives. The Trump administration has selected and is now defending a course of action - in other words, a policy. You can call it semantics, splitting hairs over which word applies. But words matter, which is why NPR is referring to the Trump administration policy of separating families at the U.S. border. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.