White House Spox Mercedes Schlapp: Border Policy Meant to Send a ‘Message’ to Migrants


When immigration hardliners in the White House floated the idea of separating child migrants from their families at the southern border, they described it as a deterrent. Chief of Staff John Kelly first floated the policy as such, Attorney General Jeff Sessions followed suit, as did Trump adviser Stephen Miller.

Then Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen told reporters at Monday’s press briefing that the policy is definitely not a deterrent. When asked whether it was, she called the very question “offensive.”

And then, in yet another twist, White House communications aide Mercedes Schlapp appeared on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning and said the policy is a deterrent.

Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade asked Schlapp about that “discrepancy,” noting Sessions says the policy is intended as a deterrent, whereas Nielsen said it isn’t.

“I think at the end of the day it’s very clear that these smugglers, for example, know exactly what the business model is,” Schlapp replied. “And their business model is that if they are able to bring these children across the border, that these individuals will then be quickly released in 20 days.”

“I think it’s a bigger and broader message which is that, clearly, that we are simply enforcing the law. And that law is: if you come in as an illegal adult, you will be prosecuted as a criminal. There is no question you will get a misdemeanor. If you come in a second time, it will be a felony. If you come in a third time you will serve jail time.”

[image via screengrab]

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Aidan McLaughlin is the Editor of Mediaite. Send tips via email: aidan@mediaite.com. Ask for Signal. Follow him on Twitter: @aidnmclaughlin