On the Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s show Monday night, the conservative pundit made a bizarre defense of Trump administration policy that separates families at the border by arguing that children were being held in what amounted to “boarding schools.”
Ingraham was pulling that description from an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune, which led with a list of classrooms, soccer goals, and a “medical clinic with superheroes like Wonder Woman, Superman, and the Hulk on the walls” in a facility for migrant children in California, at which about 10 percent of the children were separated from their parents. But the Union-Tribune article immediately went on to describe, “on closer inspection,” fencing, 24-hour video surveillance, and alarms that blast at the possibility of “a potential escape.”
“More kids are being separated from their parents and temporarily housed in what are essentially summer camps, or as The San Diego Union Tribune described them today, as basically looking like boarding schools,” Ingraham said on her show. “The American people are footing a really big bill for what is tantamount to a slow-rolling invasion of the United States.”
Ingraham’s choice to downplay the distress of the children held at these migrant facilities angered some who had read reports of children, separated from their parents, who were detained in “cages” and who in videos “sound like they’re crying so hard, they can barely breathe.”
Ingraham was not the only one to come under criticism Monday for statements on the show. Jeff Sessions, who appeared on the show to defend the zero-tolerance policy, like Ingraham said that “we’re doing the right thing, we’re taking care of these children.” But he also was criticized for the tone-deaf way in which he defended the administration against accusations of similarities to Nazi Germany.
“Well, it’s a real exaggeration,” Sessions said. “Of course, in Nazi Germany, they were keeping the Jews from leaving the country.”
Many conservatives, including Laura Bush, Lindsey Graham, and Anthony Scaramucci, have condemned the zero-tolerance policy as cruel and called on the administration to overturn it.
Update, June 19, at 10:30 a.m.: Ingraham responded to the criticism on her show, The Ingraham Angle:
Apparently there are a lot of people very upset because we referred to some of the detention facilities tonight as essentially like summer camps. The “San Diego Union Tribune” today described the facilities as essentially like what you would expect at a boarding school. So I will stick to there are some of them like boarding schools. And I suggest that a lot of the folks who are worried about that spend more time in Central America. I have. And we should make adoption easier for American couples who want to adopt these kids who are true candidates for adoption because our policies don’t allow that. So let’s put our hearts out there for the kids in the right way. Take care of them the right way. Open your hearts and your homes to them.