Chuck Holton, a reporter for NRA-TV, the cable television platform for the gun rights lobbying groups, claimed that child detention centers are "too nice" during a segment about child immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The policy of separating children from their families "was essentially the same" as under former President Barack Obama, Holton said, adding: “I’ve visited those facilities. Those facilities, if anything, are too nice.”
It is unclear how Holton gained access since access to these facilities has been extremely limited. Nevertheless, he insisted that migrant children are being kept in “very safe, secure environment with hot showers, probably for the first time in their lives, with three hot meals a day, with games to play and education and health screenings.”
NRA-TV Correspondent Chuck Holton Claims Child Detention Centers 'If Anything, Are Too Nice' https://t.co/bvon1K6OMh via @mediaite— Mass Disturbance (@Mass Disturbance)1529802498.0
Holton's claims lie in stark contrast to those made by other observers, like Representative Jackie Spier (D-CA), who called what was happening at the border an “unmitigated disaster.”
Now talking to @ananavarro on @CNN about the horrors and inhumanity we saw in detention centers today. This has… https://t.co/EZdUJRJwcn— Jackie Speier (@Jackie Speier)1529788550.0
Holton's comments echo claims made by Laura Ingraham, the Fox News host of The Ingraham Angle, who last week described the child detention centers housing immigrant children as “essentially summer camps.”
“As more illegal immigrants are rushing the border, more kids are being separated from their parents,” Ingraham said. “And temporarily housed at what are, essentially, summer camps.”
To underscore her point, Ingraham cited a news report from The San Diego Union-Tribune that compared the camps to “boarding schools.”
Laura Ingraham describes the detention facilities where children are sent after being forcibly separated from their… https://t.co/ONqpdr0VGw— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum)1529374568.0
Both Ingraham's and Holton's comments come amid significant backlash to the Trump administration’s family separations policy and after the release of an audio clip obtained by ProPublica which reveals children sobbing for their parents. At one point, a Border Patrol agent jokes, “We have an orchestra here.”
New: ProPublica has obtained audio from inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, in which children can… https://t.co/lLynq6poIx— ProPublica (@ProPublica)1529351595.0
Last week, President Donald Trump, under pressure from members of his own party, signed an executive order halting his administration’s “zero tolerance” family separations policy.
“It’s about keeping families together while ensuring we have a powerful border,” Trump said of the order. He added: “I didn’t like the sight of families being separated.”
The president’s daughter, Ivanka, later thanked him profusely on Twitter, a move which opened her up to a volley of criticism from many who pointed out that she was congratulating her father for “taking critical action” on a policy he could have halted with a simple phone call, not to mention the fact that it was a crisis entirely of his own making.
Earlier this week, President Trump admitted that his administration’s policy of separating families was a negotiating tool to get Democrats to cave to his demands (which include tougher border security as well as a wall erected along the nation’s southern border).
The new executive order is unlikely to bring a definitive end to what activists say amounts to a humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border, and the president indicated even before he signed the order that his administration maintains a hardline stance on immigration, even against those who are seeking asylum.
“We’re going to keep families together but we still have to maintain toughness or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don’t stand for and that we don’t want,” Trump said during a brief announcement at the White House.
Despite signing an order to end the “zero tolerance” policy, the president continued to use hardline immigration rhetoric while holding a campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota.
“They’re not sending their finest. We’re sending them the hell back! That’s what we’re doing,” he told nearly 9,000 supporters. “And, by the way, today I signed an executive order. We will keep families together, but the border is going to be just as tough as it has been.”
“So the Democrats want open borders,” Trump continued. “‘Let everybody come in, let them come in from the Middle East, let them come in from all over the place. We don’t care.’ We are not going to let it happen.”