Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade voiced an appalling justification of Donald Trump’s recently-reversed “zero-tolerance” separation policy for migrant children: it’s only considered “government sanctioned child abuse” if the kids are our own.
“Like it or not, these are not our kids,” Kilmeade said, proceeding to argue that baby prisons are suitable if the babies aren’t American-born. “Show them compassion, but it’s not like he’s doing this to the people of Idaho or Texas. These are people from another country.”
.@kilmeade on children who have been split from their parents as a result of Trump administration policy: “Like it or not, these are not our kids. Show them compassion, but it’s not like he’s doing this to the people of Idaho or Texas. These are people from another country.” pic.twitter.com/s24zwyDfNc
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 22, 2018
The point Kilmeade seems to omit is that the migrants in question are not just “people,” they are children, and in some cases toddlers and babies. Though the distinction between U.S. citizens and non-citizens is a reasonable one in certain instances — particularly when discussing immigration policy — it is fundamentally irrelevant when concerning unaccompanied migrant children.
Kilmeade’s comments earned him widespread condemnation across social media. His notion that migrant children don’t deserve to be treated as well as U.S. children was seen by many to indicate the xenophobia and racism espoused by Fox News and the Trump White House at large.
Kilmeade’s remarks come two days after President Trump signed an executive order ending the child-separation portion of his immigration policy. Instead, the court ruling now states children will be detained indefinitely with their parents, though it remains unclear how already-separated families will be reunited.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said on Twitter on Thursday that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen privately told lawmakers that the Trump administration’s family separation practice could resume despite the president signing an order to end the practice.