During his time in office, Barack Obama was also behind some “pretty awful” policies separating immigrant families, a group of MSNBC panelists argued Friday.
Last week’s airing of “MTP Daily” focused on the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy separating children from their parents during prosecution for crossing the border unlawfully — a directive similarly enforced by the Obama administration that drew mild backlash from immigration advocates years ago.
Alfonso Aguilar, a former aide to President George W. Bush, decried the “selective outrage” from critics bashing Trump when President Obama had a similar, though less harsh, policy.
“What’s frustrating to me … is to try to give the impression that all of a sudden the Trump administration is much more inhumane compared to the Obama administration …,” Aguilar said. “Yes, this policy is worse than the policies that were in place during the Obama administration, but there were some policies during the Obama administration that were pretty awful that separated families.”
“That’s why we need immigration reform,” he added.
Host Chuck Dodd chimed in, recalling that immigration advocates protested Obama during his 2012 campaign events.
PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor acknowledged Obama’s controversial enforcement of the policy but that argued Trump deserved more of the backlash because his campaign was essentially “built on attacking immigrants.”
“… It was a campaign that was founded — in some ways, people think — in a racist way, and then you add to that the fact that it’s a zero [tolerance] policy,” Alcindor said. This is not some families — it’s all families. I’m not saying that Obama was better. I’m just saying, as a reporter, that this is an administration that has changed a policy and made it worse.
Watch more of their discussion in the video above.