Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.
Sunday shows largely ignored America’s treatment of migrant children, even as new reports and outrage on social media show a growing humanitarian crisis.
In April, a top official with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told Congress that HHS had lost track of 1,475 unaccompanied minors who were detained at the US-Mexico border. This news has raised concerns that HHS has not taken the proper precautions to protect these migrant children in government custody from abuse and human trafficking. An ACLU report this week revealed that immigrant children suffer “pervasive abuse” while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Following the ACLU report, these missing migrant children got new attention from a social media campaign #WhereAreTheChildren.
One target of this social media campaign is the Trump administration’s new policy of separating children from parents when migrant families and asylum seekers attempt to pass through the southern border — a policy which Trump recently called “horrible” and blamed Democrats for. Earlier in May, Attorney Jeff Sessions announced “zero tolerance” separation policies which are believed to cause detrimental effects on migrant children. Families separated at the border face significant challenges in contacting each other. The Arizona Daily Star told the story of a mother who “covered her eyes with her hands as tears streamed down her cheeks” as she wondered if she would ever see her children again.”
Despite all of this, only three of the five Sunday shows, ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos, Fox News’ Sunday With Chris Wallace, and NBC’s Meet the Press failed to discuss immigration whatsoever. CBS’s Face the Nation did discuss the Trump administration’s separation policies with Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mark Meadows, and briefly mentioned them again during a panel discussion.
Sen. @marcorubio: “I’d be open” to changing the law that separates undocumented parents from their children after they cross the border illegally. Says the “ideal scenario” is for families to be kept together and returned to their countries of origin.
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) May 27, 2018
The only Sunday show to mention the missing children was CNN’s State of the Union during a roundtable discussion. During the show, CNN contributor Rick Santorum called news of the missing children “hyperbole to try to create an issue.”