June 16, 2018

Dem Rep to CNN: Unaccompanied-Minors Detention Center Conditions ‘Kept Quiet’ Under Obama

Appearing to take the show’s host by surprise, Henry Cuellar, a Democrat in Texas’s congressional delegation contended Saturday on CNN that in 2014, the conditions at detention centers holding unaccompanied and separated illegal-immigrant children were “kept quiet under the Obama Administration.” That’s probably correct, but it should also be noted that enough info had leaked out that that the press, if it had been genuinely interested, could have investigated matters further, and clearly didn’t.

That Cuellar raised this point now shouldn’t be a surprise. In 2014, he bitterly criticized Obama’s handling of the surge of children crossing the U.S-Mexico border. A related July 2014 CNN story betrayed a great deal of hostility towards congressman for even bringing the matter up:


CNN reporter Halimah Abdullah’s clear message: How dare you criticize the President of your own party? This mindset  starkly contrasts with the heroic treatment Republican critics of President Donald Trump have received since his inauguration.

Cuellar reminded CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield of the Obama-era reality when she appeared to invite the congressman to agree that conditions now are as bad as they were then. But, he didn’t:


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD: There was, according to the Washington Post reporting, a surging number of unaccompanied minors being apprehended at the border. In 2014, there were nearly 70,000 according to the Post reporting. And that same year, there was this viral image of children being kept in a cage at a detention center. (Note: That image was not “viral” in 2014; it became viral this year when it was dishonestly presented as reflecting current conditions. — Ed.)

Do you see any parallels here, how different it is what we’re seeing today from these images?

HENRY CUELLAR: In many ways, I think I was — I don’t know what image you’re using, but I released some of those photos (in 2014) because it was kept quiet under the Obama Administration. There were large numbers of people coming in. The Obama Administration was trying to keep this quiet, and I don’t know which image you’re using, but I released some photos that I had gone about those young kids kept there. And we are still seeing the numbers.

And keep in mind, when they talk about putting some of the young kids in those centers, not all of them are being separated. Some of them are coming alone, as Ed said a few minutes ago. Some of them are coming on their own. So it’s not a matter that every single child that we have in those centers are being separated, because some of them are coming alone.

Keep in mind that under the law, you can separate a child if that person, the adult, is not the real parent or the custodian, because sometimes we see situations where they’ll bring a child because they know of the policy that we have over here with children, or at least what we used to have. Or if there’s a criminal offense and, but they’re using this zero tolerance to separate, and that’s an area that I think we need to look at.

Whitfield’s expression during Cuellar’s answer appeared to betray concern that she wasn’t getting the answer she expected.

Cuellar clearly doesn’t believe that the press adequately followed up on what he attempted to expose in 2014.

Additionally, an Arizona Republic reporter did expose conditions at two detention centers that year:


Also note that the photo in question in the graphic is from the Associated Press. If the AP even did an exposé for national distribution on detention center conditions, it didn’t generate a lot of interest elsewhere.

Based on Cuellar’s contention, it would appear that the “first glimpse” seen above was one of a very if any more additional glimpses the Obama administration allowed — and the press was apparently not interested in pushing to see more.

Cross-posted, with possible revisions, at NewsBusters.org.



  1. But it gets worse:

    Blast From The Past: Obama Administration Handed Child Migrants Over To Human Traffickers


    Did anyone wonder how it was they placed those children so quickly??? They made little effort to vet the so called “relatives” we were told they handed the kids off to.

    It wasn’t just the gross incompetence of not recognizing MS 13 tats on teenagers of questionable age. In a situation of a repeated pattern of failure, at some point one is forced to re-evaluate defaulting to Hanlon’s Razor.

    Comment by dscott — June 17, 2018 @ 7:38 am

  2. Obama Administration Placed Children With Human Traffickers, Democrats Were Silent


    According to the 56 page investigative report released in January 2016, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services failed to properly vet government approved caretakers who claimed the children, placed children in homes without visiting the locations, permitted the adults who claimed the children to obtain custody of multiple unrelated children and ignored “serious trafficking indicators.”

    Once the children were placed in the homes of the government approved caretakers, not only did the agency fail to provide any oversight of the children’s well being, but allowed the adult sponsors to prevent caseworkers from providing them post-release services.

    “HHS places children with individuals about whom it knows relatively little and without verifying the limited information provided by sponsors about their alleged relationship with the child,” the report said.

    The report details at least 30 instances of unaccompanied children that had been trafficked because of the Obama administration’s laxed policies and procedures. After authorities in July discovered several Guatemalan eight teen boys were being held captive a decrepit trailer in Marion, Ohio, by traffickers, Sen. Rob Portman, R -Ohio, to initiated an investigation into welfare of unaccompanied, undocumented minors.

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Neilsen: ‘Well-Coached’ Illegal Aliens Using Children To Pose As Families


    DHS Sec Defends Trump Migrant Policy From ‘Irresponsible Press’


    “This misreporting by Members, press & advocacy groups must stop,” tweeted Nielsen. “It is irresponsible and unproductive. As I have said many times before, if you are seeking asylum for your family, there is no reason to break the law and illegally cross between ports of entry.”

    “You are not breaking the law by seeking asylum at a port of entry,” she continued. “For those seeking asylum at ports of entry, we have continued the policy from previous Administrations and will only separate if the child is in danger, there is no custodial relationship between ‘family’ members, or if the adult has broken a law.

    bolds mine. In other words, IF you know enough to claim asylum, then you clearly know that doing so should be via a “port of entry” NOT through desert or via a well paid coyote.

    Comment by dscott — June 18, 2018 @ 3:42 pm

  3. The immorality of the open-borders Left


    We have two choices when it comes to border security and interior enforcement. We can continue telegraphing the message that when you come here with children you are home free. This will continue fueling the drug crisis, growing MS-13, enriching the drug cartels, inducing sex trafficking and terrible crimes at the border, encouraging illegals to kidnap children to gain admission, and causing death and mayhem on both sides of the border. Or we could finally deter this behavior by announcing an end to any immigration requests not processed in a controlled environment through our embassy. If you are concerned about “separating children” and don’t support the latter path, then you need to seriously examine your values and priorities…

    Comment by dscott — June 18, 2018 @ 4:35 pm

  4. So was the media, in an item which I just posted here which is going to NB as a draft shortly. (When it will go live, I have no idea.)

    Comment by Tom — June 18, 2018 @ 6:41 pm

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