A two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018 in McAllen, Texas.  <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/06/22/the-crying-honduran-girl-on-the-cover-of-time-was-not-separated-from-her-mother-father-says/?noredirect=on&amp;utm_term=.62a09bec8b8f">Here's more on what happened to the girl in the photo and her mother</a>

A two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018 in McAllen, Texas. Here's more on what happened to the girl in the photo and her mother

The United States is separating children from their families at the border.

President Trump is blaming Democrats for these policies, a claim PolitiFact has rated “false.”

The Trump administration may believe that Democrats are responsible for policies that encourage illegal border crossing, but we found no law mandating that children be separated from their parents.

The Homeland Security Department’s longstanding policy is to separate children from their custodians when they are referred for criminal prosecution. Trump’s administration has decided to prosecute all illegal crossings. Families were rarely prosecuted under previous administrations.

And The Daily Beast is reporting that intelligence and defense contractors are benefiting from this policy. One corporation, Virginia-based MVM, has listed jobs for child-care workers “in anticipation of a contract award.” But the company’s record certainly isn’t pristine. Betsey Woodruff and Spencer Ackerman write:

In 2008, MVM lost a lucrative contract with the Central Intelligence Agency in Iraq for, The Wall Street Journal reported, “failing to provide enough armed guards.” It also faced internal allegations that its guards in Iraq, which worked for both the CIA and the National Security Agency, “were procuring and possessing unauthorized weapons and explosives,” according to a since-dismissed lawsuit from an Army Special Forces veteran employee who unsuccessfully claimed wrongful termination after blowing the whistle.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the policy on via Twitter on June 17, and CNN journalist Jake Tapper fact-checked her claim.

And prominent Republicans also criticized the policy, including former First Lady Laura Bush, former Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci and South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham.

Bush wrote an op-ed in [The Washington Post].

I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.

Democratic lawmakers, including Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, visited a detention facility in Brownsville, Texas, but were not allowed to talk to children held there, according to the New York Times.

What’s the purpose of these highly controversial policies at the southern border? Will there be any successful opposition to it in Congress?

[We’ve done several shows in the past few months on immigration. Here’s our show about applying for asylum. We did another segment on #WhereAreTheChildren. Back in March, we covered DACA, and that’s a show which includes listener stories about how the program has affected their lives. Send us your questions for this conversation.]

Gabrielle Healy

Guests

  • Priscilla Alvarez Assistant editor, The Atlantic; @priscialva
  • Michael Miller Local enterprise reporter, The Washington Post
  • Sister Norma Pimentel Executive Director, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley

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