During his weekly press conference, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan spoke out against families being separated at the United States' southern border. But instead of laying blame where is belongs, with the people who enacted the policy, the Wisconsin Republican chose to blame a 1997 court ruling; the Flores settlement.
In May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated the Trump administration would enact a zero tolerance policy for those entering the United States through Mexico, regardless if they were adults, children or families or were seeking asylum. Since then, President Donald Trump has blamed everyone but his own administration for the repercussions of his own policy.
Including referencing a law that doesn't exist.
Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there parents once they cross th… https://t.co/4a3owtmq0h— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1527343142.0
Ryan, like the leader of his party, claims the more than 1,000 immigrant children separated from their families is not Trump's fault.
"This is because of a court ruling," Ryan stated, then repeated it three more times. "We don’t want kids to be separated from their parents."
What’s happening at the border and the separation of parents and their children is because of a court ruling."
Ryan brushed off any culpability on the part of the president or his administration. But if the court ruling in 1997 is the sole reason for the separation, why did President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush or President Barack Obama not ever interpret the court ruling that way?
The 1997 Flores settlement bars the government from detaining children for long periods, including with their parents. Because the Trump administration has decided to detain everyone at the border, the children are being separated from their parents.
In other words, current family separation policy is the result of the Flores settlement only because the Trump administration would rather split up families than allow them to be released from detention while their cases go through the court system.
Previously, official discretion put families detained at the border in immigration proceedings rather than splitting them up. When a reporter pointed out the separations result from the administration’s zero tolerance policy, Ryan replied that "there’s also a court ruling involved."
While Speaker Ryan refused to give credit where it is due, others had no problem doing it.
Chuck Grassley echoes Ryan, saying the administration's family separation policy is "requir[ed]" by the '97 Flores… https://t.co/ygC8jajRO3— Sahil Kapur (@Sahil Kapur)1528991628.0
In a June 5 interview with @hughhewitt, Jeff Sessions said Trump's family separation policy was part of an effort t… https://t.co/IYS2LSG13f— Sahil Kapur (@Sahil Kapur)1528992190.0
Here's White House chief of staff John Kelly in May 2018 defending family separation on the merits as a "tough dete… https://t.co/Qs8psMeMsS— Sahil Kapur (@Sahil Kapur)1528992917.0
@sahilkapur "The Flores agreement set nationwide criteria for the detention, release, and treatment of immigrant ch… https://t.co/ScDTRgB03H— STB (@STB)1528993546.0
@sahilkapur If only there was some deliberative body with the power to create or change laws.— R.H. (@R.H.)1528994797.0
Huffington Post reporter Roque Planas broke Ryan's erroroneous claim down.
Paul Ryan’s claim that family separations at the border stem from a court ruling, rather than White House policy, i… https://t.co/VQtIiJfGdu— Roque Planas (@Roque Planas)1529001711.0
And I’m going to pile on, because I’m seeing Ryan’s assertion reflexively quoted without enough examination. But it… https://t.co/5sVrZp74Rd— Roque Planas (@Roque Planas)1529001712.0
I’ve covered immigration for a while now and I’m used to seeing dishonest talking points come and go. But this is a… https://t.co/gAymbhpuki— Roque Planas (@Roque Planas)1529001712.0
Ryan says the family separations stem from a “court ruling.” He didn’t say which, but @EliseFoley confirms he’s ref… https://t.co/ixQizkUGZO— Roque Planas (@Roque Planas)1529001713.0
The Flores Settlement dates from 1997 and partly determines how child migrants can be detained. In 2015, U.S. Distr… https://t.co/LIFDHiO5jl— Roque Planas (@Roque Planas)1529001713.0
The result was that family detention centers turned into very expensive holding centers. Most families (generally m… https://t.co/48INu7YAbB— Roque Planas (@Roque Planas)1529001713.0
On appeal, the 9th circuit ruled that the Flores ruling applied only to the kids, not necessarily to the parents --… https://t.co/b3ODE005JN— Roque Planas (@Roque Planas)1529001714.0
The Obama administration did not respond by systematically separating the families. Typically, they released the mo… https://t.co/wHS0P0NciS— Roque Planas (@Roque Planas)1529001714.0
Flores isn’t about jailing parents. It’s about immigrant detention. It’s just normal policy not to jail kids when t… https://t.co/ddxMzNQ7Df— Roque Planas (@Roque Planas)1529001715.0
This is not what the 9th circuit held. The mothers can be released from family detention along with the kids. It’s… https://t.co/GBHDN8B1ey— Roque Planas (@Roque Planas)1529001715.0
It’s no secret that family separation is a Trump policy. As DHS Secretary, John Kelly openly discussed last year th… https://t.co/jSxlhQ3cmD— Roque Planas (@Roque Planas)1529001716.0
Finally, last month Sessions announced DHS would refer 100 percent of illegal crossings for prosecution, effectivel… https://t.co/LiSAiULYBH— Roque Planas (@Roque Planas)1529001717.0
It sounds a lot like taking children from their parents is an intentional tactic of intimidation deployed by the Trump administration, despite Ryan's claims otherwise.