On Friday's New Day show, CNN ran multiple segments reacting to the presidential debate discussion of border security as CNN regulars tried to correct President Donald Trump's statements, but ended up misinforming their own viewers in the process.
The show not only failed to put in context that it was generally only illegal border crossers who were separated from their children so they could be prosecuted, but they also cited incorrect statistics claiming the overwhelming majority of such illegals attend their court hearings.
Co-host John Berman introduced the discussion without clarifying that only asylum seekers who had broken the law were subject to family separation:
One of the things in the news over the last 48 hours has been the information about the 545 children who were separated by [sic] their parents at the border due to Trump administration policies who have not been reunited with their parents. That came up at the debate last night, and I want to play the different types of responses from the candidates.
On the bright side, as CNN reporter Katilan Collins responded to a clip from the debate of President Trump defending his border actions, she admitted that the Barack Obama administration built the cage-like facilities that Trump was criticized for, but she also failed to inform viewers that many of the parents who were deported without their children chose to leave their children in the U.S. to pursue asylum, sometimes living with relatives.
Co-host Alisyn Camerota followed up:
I mean, Maggie, it's been three years that these kids -- we didn't know that there were 545 still separated from their parents, except for the court -- you know, that they had to release that information. And, by the way, I talked yesterday to one of the women at the organization trying to do the reunification, and they couldn't find all of those kids. They're not in, you know, very clean, beautiful places being kept in great conditions. That's just simply not true, what the President said.
CNN analyst Maggie Haberman suggested that, contrary to President Trump's claims, children who were taken from their parents were not treated well even though the reports of bad conditions she referred to were primarily about temporary detention facilities that also elicited complaints during the Obama administration whereas children were taken out of detention to better facilities than their parents or placed in foster care, sometimes with relatives.
Later in the show, as CNN's Daniel Dale fact-checked President Trump, the CNN correspondent suggested that that 75 percent of illegal immigrants attend their court hearings even studies making such findings often do not focus on illegal border crossers, about 50 per cent of whom reportedly do not even apply for asylum after they claimed they would do so to gain entry.
The same has previously claimed that as many as 89 percent of asylum seekers attend asylum hearings, also misleadingly.
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Below is a transcript of the Friday, October 23, New Day on CNN:
JOHN BERMAN: One of the things in the news over the last 48 hours has been the information about the 545 children who were separated by [sic] their parents at the border due to Trump administration policies who have not been reunited with their parents. That came up at the debate last night, and I want to play the different types of responses from the candidates.
JOE BIDEN, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: What happened? Parents were -- 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, nowhere to go, nowhere to go. It's criminal.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They are so well taken care of. They're in facilities that were so clean.
BERMAN: Kaitlan, the takeaway from that?
KAITLAN COLLINS: Well, the President's other response was that the Obama/Biden administration was what put in place those cages that the kids were put in, those pictures that were horrible, of course, that we saw. But he did not mention that it was his administration that implemented that zero tolerance policy. That was Jeff Sessions and the President's DHS later on that really was the one implementing that incredibly strict policy that was, you know, one of the worst moments of the Donald Trump presidency. Even his own aides who have worked here in the White House, who worked at Department of Homeland Security -- will acknowledge as much.
And so the President was trying to deflect and say it was on the Obama/Biden administration when it was, of course, his administration that worked on the zero tolerance policy, but also what he said about what's happening now about trying to connect those hundreds of children with their parents who were taken away from them. He didn't acknowledge that they're unable to find them, and the administration, I believe, only revealed this under a court-ordered -- they only revealed this information under a court order, so that's the only reason we know about it.
So the President was saying they are trying to remedy that situation, trying to reconnect them, but he did not acknowledge that actually the only reason we know about this is because it came out in a court order. And simply the issue is, it's very -- they believe it's almost impossible to be able to reconnect these children with their families. And that is not something that the President acknowledged, though I was surprised, I think this was one of the first times we've heard an immigration discussion come up in the talks between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in a substantive way.
ALISYN CAMEROTA: I mean, Maggie, it's been three years that these kids -- we didn't know that there were 545 still separated from their parents, except for the court -- you know, that they had to release that information. And, by the way, I talked yesterday to one of the women at the organization trying to do the reunification, and they couldn't find all of those kids. They're not in, you know, very clean, beautiful places being kept in great conditions. That's just simply not true, what the President said.
MAGGIE HABERMAN: No, that's exactly right, Alisyn, and what Kaitlan said is correct. The Obama/Biden record on immigration, you know, has spots that a lot of immigration advocates are not happy with, but the policy was not to forcibly take children from their parents at the border as a deterrent. That is very much a Donald Trump administration and a Mike Pence administration policy. And the President describing, you know, the children as well taken care of, there have been all kinds of reports about the conditions that kids have been kept in and what has been going on as they are being detained, and they are extremely troubling, so he is painting a picture that is entirely not true.