The media and political class become more and more outraged over the Trump administration’s decision to detain and prosecute immigrants illegally crossing the border.
Lost in the debate is any acknowledgement that President Obama’s administration also used detention facilities.
Current U.S. immigration laws, when enforced, have the consequence of temporarily separating families that arrive with children into separate detention facilities in order to prosecute the adults. The policy of prosecuting immigrants for crossing the border illegally has been in place for multiple administrations. The Obama administration prosecuted half a million illegal immigrants and similarly separated families in the process. So did the Bush administration. Personal accounts from immigration lawyers tell a tale of Obama being equally concerned about unaccompanied minors traveling to the border and wanting to create a deterrent.
Photos of border detention facilities from the Obama-era, taken during 2014, look nearly identical to the ones taken during the Trump era.
You never see them, however. Here they are, taken in 2014 during a media tour of an Obama-era detention facilities in Brownsville, Texas, and Nogales, Arizona.
Obama administration prosecuted nearly 500,000 illegal immigrants between FY 2010-FY2016. They referred 1/5 of illegals for prosecution, which often resulted in family separations.