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MSNBC Lets Merkley Claim Trump in 'War on Children'


Cross posted at the MRC's NewsBusters blog.

On Sunday afternoon, as MSNBC host Alex Witt interviewed Oregon Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley about detention of illegal immigrants, she not only gave no pushback on Merkley's incendiary claim that the Trump administration is in a "war on children," but she even added her own liberal commentary as she suggested that keeping illegals detained until their cases are concluded would not act as a deterrent to illegals bringing children with them.

As Merkley reacted to news that the administration is trying to change detention rules to get around the Flores Agreement and detain illegal immigrant families with children together for more than 20 days until their asylum cases are decided, the Oregon Democrat declared:

This core idea of indefinite imprisonment of children is part of a war on children as a strategy of the United States of America. … If we treat immigrants horrifically, including children, it will deter immigration. That is absolutely unacceptable under any moral code or any religious tradition.

Host Witt then bolstered him as she responded:

And, Senator, not only unacceptable -- it's just not true. The statistics will show that a mother trying to escape violence from a country in Central America will forgo any sort of legal channels and go through the Rio Grande in the middle of the night in an inflatable raft if she has to. It has not proven to be a deterrent thus far.

Without either host or guest bringing up the issue of whether more Central Americans should be granted asylum from Mexico than the U.S., Merkley cited an anecdotal case of a woman who left Central America with her child to flee a murder threat. Witt then followed up by inviting her liberal guest to complain about the prison industry donating money to Republicans:

Let's talk about the prison industry, sir. We have been talking about the industry itself pouring record amounts of money into the 2018 election cycle. … If you add it up, it gives about eight times as much to Republicans than Democrats. Does that at all explain why the Trump administration is pushing to detain immigrant families indefinitely? I mean, how strong is the prison system lobbying efforts?

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