Human Rights

Trump Campaign Spokesman Says Parents of Kids Separated at the Border Don’t Want Them Back

A Trump campaign spokesperson is now insisting that the reason that some migrant parents haven’t been reunited with their children is that they don’t want their kids back. There should be a special kind of hell for people who say things like this because that statement is almost certainly as fake as President Donald Trump’s orange face.

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh made the statement Friday on CNN’s New Day program as news broke that the federal government has been unable to reach the parents of more than 500 children who were separated from their families at the U.S./Mexico border, Politico reports.

Murtagh noted this is “a regrettable situation, certainly,” but said the work of reuniting families is more difficult for Department of Homeland Security officials than has been previously portrayed.

“The fact is it’s not as simple as you make it sound or Joe Biden made it sound on the stage last night to locate the parents who are in other countries,” Murtagh said. “And when they do locate them, it has been DHS’s experience that in many cases the parents do not want the children returned.”

He later reiterated this in the interview with host John Berman.

“You have to locate the parents and when they are located in these other countries in many cases, John, the parents do not want the children sent back to them in their home countries.”

DHS spokesman Chase Jennings backed this up. The agency, he said, “has taken every step to facilitate reunification of these families where the parents wanted such reunification to occur.”

“The simple fact is this: after contact has been made with the parents to reunite them with their children, many parents have refused,” Jennings said in a statement.

But the preference of the parents of the 500+ kids isn’t really known because they have yet to be contacted by the court-appointed steering committee that’s responsible for doing so, Politico notes.

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Berman and Jennings are portraying this as if the parents are wantonly abandoning their children, but living in Central America as I do, I can tell you this is unfair. People in Central America are fleeing some of the direst conditions you can absolutely imagine. Death squads in Honduras were a thing back in the 1980s and they are coming back. In both situations, these squads have been funded by the good ol’ U.S. of A. And this tiny country, with a population of fewer than 10 million people, has long been considered the “murder capital of the world” largely due to these military death squads. Death squads have also returned to Nicaragua and El Salvador.

InsightCrime notes government-sponsored death squads “were responsible for mass killings during El Salvador’s 12-year civil war that left some 75,000 people dead.” The “murder-for-hire” operations were dismantled after peace accords were signed in 1992.

So if parents don’t want to take their kids back, it’s because they themselves are once again living in these dire situations and don’t want their children to be subjected to this. Sure, some parents might just be jerks but I’m quite certain they are in the minority.

I am very well aware that Central American immigrants are fleeing terror and the situation is bad enough for them to try to cross the U.S. border knowing that their children may be taken from them. Because they know that living in a detention center, no matter how awful that situation is, is still better than being murdered back home.

And during Thursday’s debate, Joe Biden hammered Trump over his cruel policies of incarcerating children. Because that’s what this really is. The media can use phrases like “detention camps,” or “detention centers,” but they are prisons for innocent children.

Biden, who was clearly angry, said “its criminal” that these children have been left in limbo.

“Parents were ripped — their kids were ripped from their arms and separated, and now they cannot find over 500 sets of those parents and those kids are alone,” Biden said. [With] nowhere to go. Nowhere to go.”

Trump tried to excuse this by defending his administration’s treatment of the child prisoners (I’m sorry, but that’s exactly what they are) by saying they are being treated well. Really? Even though kids have died in these centers? Even though COVID-19 is cutting a deadly path in these places?

To his credit, Biden admitted mistakes were made in the Obama administration and specifically noted that President Obama “made a mistake” in the way he handled deportations and family detentions during his tenure.

“We made a mistake,” he said. “It took too long to get it right,” Biden said during the debate.

He’s right and this leads me to make an obvious suggestion: Don’t separate families. It’s evil and cruel and completely unnecessary. Trump did this to intimidate migrants fleeing terror, but the terror is bad enough that this nasty, awful strategy hasn’t worked.

Get rid of this creep in November. Please.

The two presidential contenders discuss the immigration situation in the video below.

meet the author

Megan has lived in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida and she currently lives in Central America. Living in these places has informed her writing on politics, science, and history. She is currently owned by 15 cats and 3 dogs and regularly owns Trump supporters when she has the opportunity. She can be found on Twitter at and Facebook at


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