Washington Post Reporter Defends Coverage of Biden’s New Immigrant Detention Facility: It ‘Isn’t Like Trump’s Kids in Cages’


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A Washington Post reporter defended the paper’s decision to describe the Biden administration’s first center for holding immigrant children as a “migrant facility” in a new report, arguing that it was much more welcoming than holding centers under former President Donald Trump.

The issue arose as the result of a Monday story by The Post’s Silvia Foster-Frau detailing the new center in Carrizo Springs, Texas, headlined, “First migrant facility for children opens under Biden.” Critics noted the paper referred to the facilities in the Trump era using terms that included “concentration camps.”

Post senior political reporter Aaron Blake defended the decision on Tuesday in an analysis, titled, “No, Biden’s new border move isn’t like Trump’s kids in cages.'” Blake said the description was justified, in part, because the paper didn’t view it as a “good thing,” and because the Biden administration does not separate children from the adults accompanying them.

“The first thing to note is that The Post’s coverage didn’t exactly hail this as a good thing,” Blake wrote. “It quotes immigrant rights activists criticizing the development,” including “one [who] called it a ‘huge step backward.'” He noted the same activist called the Carrizo facility “the Cadillac” of detention centers.

“And here’s the biggest point,” he added. “Trump’s policy on children at the border wasn’t controversial merely because it resulted in children being held at the border, which is a long-standing reality and is what will happen at this facility. It was controversial because it forced children to be separated from their parents given its hard-line policy requiring that the parents be held and not released into the country.”

The new facility, which has been described as a “tent,” will house up to 700 teenagers who cross the border illegally, unaccompanied by an adult. It was briefly used as a holding facility in the Trump administration until its closure in July 2019.

The facility also came up at Tuesday’s White House briefing, when Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked Press Secretary Jen Psaki how it differed from earlier versions in the Trump era.

“This is not kids being kept in cages,” Psaki replied. “This is a facility that was opened that’s going to follow the same standards as other … facilities. It is not a replication, certainly not, that is never our intention of replicating the immigration policies of the past administration, but we are in a circumstance where we are not going to expel unaccompanied minors at the border. That would be inhumane.”

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