Laura Ingraham Says the Detention Camps for Migrant Children Are Like ‘Summer Camps’ — and It May Be the Dumbest Thing She’s Ever Said

Laura Ingraham

Laura Ingraham | Alex Wong/Getty Images

When you think back to the months you spent at summer camp as a child, you probably don’t picture being forced against your will to sit in cages with strangers crying for your parents.

But that’s the reality for many children of immigrants attempting to cross the United States-Mexico border — an act that is now considered a criminal offense.

Many have called the result of Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy — children being separated from their parents and kept in detention camps away from their families — a human rights crisis.

Fox News’s Laura Ingraham seemed to think otherwise. She compared the fenced-in areas keeping children detained to “summer camps.”

The host brought up the issue during her show on June 18.

She explained to her viewers that these children were “temporarily housed in what are essentially summer camps, or as the San Diego-Union Tribune described them today as looking like basically boarding schools.”

Ingraham based her comments about these camps on an article she may have neglected to read all the way through. Doing so might have saved her at least a little backlash.

The article from which she derived her information spent its first two sentences describing “what one would expect from a boarding school,” setting up the Casa San Diego as a place that seems desirable at first glance.

Reporter Kate Morrissey wrote: “There are classrooms, a play area with soccer goals and a medical clinic with superheroes like Wonder Woman, Superman and the Hulk on the walls.”

If Ingraham had read a paragraph further, she would have noticed Morrissey’s next line: “On closer inspection, details about the California-licensed child care facility run by Southwest Key Programs reflect the situation of the children it serves.”

Though the process itself isn’t new, ProPublica released an audio clip of desperate children crying out for their parents, which made many Americans question how the Trump administration’s new policy was affecting these kids’ long-term well-being.

Ingraham later responded to the criticism and attempted to win over her critics. She suggested American families should “adopt” these children. “We should make adoption easier for American couples who want to adopt these kids who are true candidates for adoption because our policies don’t allow that.”

Fox News Channel host Laura Ingraham addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference

Laura Ingraham | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

This doesn’t make much sense when you look more closely at the most common reasons immigration officials separate children from their parents at the border:

  • Families seeking asylum who attempt to cross the border illegally;
  • Immigration officials who are unable to verify that a parent and child are related.

In many cases, children are wrongfully separated from their biological parents because officials “suspect” they aren’t their real parents. And any adult sent to federal jail while awaiting trial can’t bring their children with them.

Adopting children separated from their parents doesn’t solve the actual problem: That children are being separated from their parents.

While their parents wait to learn their fates — they’re either deported or placed in front of a judge who either will or won’t grant them asylum — these kids are either held in government facilities or short-term foster care while officials try to locate close relatives already residing in the United States.

The government is trying to establish more programs to place “unaccompanied immigrant children” without relatives into safe foster homes. But even though some families are eventually reunited, many aren’t. There isn’t a clear system in place to ensure this happens.

There is no fun to be had when you’ve been taken away from your family and don’t know if you will ever see them again.

Even if not all detainment centers keep kids in cages, these children aren’t enduring months of enrichment or fun. There’s no guarantee that at the end of a session or semester, they’ll get to return to their families. It’s not summer camp at all. It’s a living nightmare.

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