Wall Street Journal misrepresents Trump border policies to boost Biden

  • WSJ article continues to push the misnomer “family separation” to describe Trump’s immigration policy 
  • Biden’s immigration policy given a humanitarian spin despite the actual consequences of his policy
  • Both Parti and Hackman make their partisanship clear, as they omit context and misrepresent Trump’s policy to give a boost to their preferred politician. 

OUR RATING: #FakeNews. This is what you’d expect on CNN playing to an empty airport.

Indicted Outlet: Tarini Parti and Michelle Hackman | The Wall Street Journal | Link | Archive

Since at least 2018, the Wall Street Journal has used the misnomer “family separation” to describe Trump’s immigration policy on the border. This is anything but accurate. The moral implications for continuing this lie is that the Biden Administration, in response to the family separation Trump caused, will act “humanely” which in this case means inviting massive groups of immigrants to flood American borders.

The authors essentially mislead the author so as to put a glossy sheen of humanity over Biden’s policies, while indicting the Trump administration. 

Major Violations:

  • Misrepresentation
  • Assuming bad faith
  • Missing Context
  • Partisan 

The family separation policy under Trump is a misrepresentation of the policy, implicitly assuming bad faith on the part of the Trump administration. In reality, the zero tolerance policy is meant to protect children.

The Ninth Circuit’s 2016 decision in Flores v. Lynch applied the 1997 Flores settlement agreement to children in family units. This essentially created a loophole for illegal immigrants and potential bad actors to enter the United States.

Andrew Arthur served for eight years as an Immigration Judge at the York Immigration Court in York, Pennsylvania. He is now the Resident Fellow in Law and Policy for the Center for Immigration Studies. Arthur explained the history of the Flores agreement and how “the phrase ‘family separation’ makes it appear that the purpose of the policy was to separate families, but in reality, that was simply the effect of a combination of legal incentives for migrants to enter the United States illegally and poorly thought-out laws in the United States.”  

According to the Department of Homeland Security: “Under the Flores Agreement, DHS can only detain UACs (Unaccompanied Alien Children) for 20 days before releasing them to the Department of Health and Human Services which places the minors in foster or shelter situations until they locate a sponsor. When these minors are released, they often fail to appear for court hearings or comply with removal orders. These legal loopholes lead to “catch and release” policies that act as a “pull factor” for increased future illegal immigration. This has incited smugglers to place children into the hands of adult strangers so they can pose as families and be released from immigration custody after crossing the border, creating another safety issue for these children.” [1] 

In order to deter illegal immigrants from bringing their children with them, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called for a zero tolerance policy. This policy, in coordination with the Flores Settlement Agreement, meant that parents, who had broken the law by illegally entering the country, were separated from their children because they could not be detained for longer than 20 days. [2]

“Thus, the ‘family separation’ occurred by force of law, not a policy to separate families.  If zero tolerance were only imposed on single adult migrants, it would have further encouraged foreign nationals considering illegal entry to use children as pawns, to avoid immigration detention and criminal prosecution,” Arthur said.

This explains the change in immigrant demographics on the border. Before 2011, over 90% of arriving aliens were single adult males. In 2018, 40% were families and children. [3] So, “family separation” really meant closing the loopholes that incentivized families or criminals to bring children along with them on the perilous journey to the border. [4]

Parti and Hackman are missing context in their article to explain Biden’s new administration policy. If all the facts were included, Trump would be the one trying to keep families together and Biden would be keeping them apart. Thus, the Biden administration’s goal of “bringing separated parents back to the U.S.” and “reuniting families” seems to historically only incentivize dangerous and sometimes illegal activity.

Arthur added, As for the Biden administration’s efforts to reunify those families, to the extent that the adults were removed, if they are given the choice between reunifying in their home countries or reunifying in the United States, they will plainly reunify here—they intended to enter the United States illegally to begin with.  That will, however, encourage even more adults to bring children with them to the United States, because they believe (likely correctly) that if they get here, they will not be removed.” 

Finally, the writer’s partisan bias is made obvious when the writer lists some “suggestions” the Biden Administration could follow to allow deported illegal immigrants back into the country: “…Deported parents could be eligible to return as family members of U.S. citizens, or through temporary work programs such as those used in agricultural and other seasonal professions…The administration could also use an executive authority called parole that allows anyone entry into the U.S. so long as it is in the public interest.” Not only do the writers steer clear of evidence and context that would taint Biden’s “humane” policy, they also give suggestions as to how he could implement them. 

The Wall Street Journal has engaged in shoddy journalism work by ignoring both a complex and sensitive issue and instead assigning bad intentions to Trump and “humane” ones to Biden. Arthur puts it thus: “…it is difficult to explain the mechanics of how families were separated, and even more difficult to explain the factors that encouraged those [family units] to enter the United States to begin with. That said, there is a lack of understanding of those factors within the media by and large.  If they do not understand it, they cannot explain it to their readers.” 

OUR RATING: #FakeNews. This is what you’d expect on CNN playing to an empty airport.


1] https://www.dhs.gov/news/2018/02/15/unaccompanied-alien-children-and-family-units-are-flooding-border-because-catch-and

2] https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-announces-zero-tolerance-policy-criminal-illegal-entry

3] https://www.dhs.gov/news/2018/04/04/secure-border-and-make-america-safe-again-we-need-deploy-national-guard

4] https://cis.org/Report/Catch-and-Release-Escape-Hatches

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