Coates Invokes Jim Crow Laws, Condemns Immigrant Detention


Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog.

On Wednesday's CNN Tonight, as she was acting as fill-in host, CNN's Laura Coates gave a commentary attacking President Donald Trump for holding a flashy July 4 celebration at the same time that thousands of illegal immigrants are being held in overcrowded detention centers.

Without noting that most are detained because they crossed into the country illegally, often endangering their children by crossing rivers or deserts, Coates claimed that the detainees were being held merely because "they have the audacity to seek a more dignified existence."

She ended up bringing up Jim Crow laws that mandated racial segregation in schools as she complained that such treatment is having negative psychological effects on illegal immigrants.

At 10:28 p.m. Eastern, Coates began by recalling that the President will be putting on the Bastille Day-type of show that he wants for July 4 celebrations, and then read a tweet from him predicting that it will be "the show of a lifetime." Coates continued:

Indeed it will be a spectacle, but one that pales in comparison to the unconscionable spectacle that is the humanitarian crisis at our Southern border. Human beings treated like animals because they have the audacity to seek a more dignified existence for themselves and their families. The nerve of it all.

She added:

This is the spectacle I'm talking about -- photos of migrants inside detention centers, crammed into cages. A report by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security calling the situation "urgent," conditions "dangerous," requiring "immediate attention and action." 

After a clip of an anonymous employee describing the detention facilities as dirty, Coates continued: "The spectacle of human beings being treated like garbage. President Trump ignoring the conditions that migrants are living in without even one iota of empathy."

Without noting that Congress has been slow to supply funding to take care of detainees in spite of the record numbers of illegal immigrants being apprehended, she read some of Trump's recent comments downplaying the severity of the conditions.

She then complained: "The apathy is a spectacle in and of itself, but the way the President seems to view these migrants is nothing compared to how this treatment is making them view themselves."

She showed pictures that were drawn by children depicting what it was like in the facilities, and then brought up racial segregation:

And all on the eve of the President's "show of a lifetime." Well, we've seen another show, and it's been in our lifetime, and it was through the eyes of children. When the Supreme Court was deliberating Brown vs. Board of Education, they considered the psychological impact on black children being treated as if they were subhuman -- unworthy of a desk beside their white counterparts, unworthy Americans.

After noting that the U.S. Supreme Court took into account that both black and white children reported viewing black dolls negatively but white dolls positively before striking down racial segregation in schools, Coates concluded:

So perhaps the spectacle is in not recognizing that how we treat one child in America impacts the treatment of all America's children, and perhaps fireworks are a good distraction from the real bomb bursting in air -- America's moral conviction.

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