A semantic debate is raging over what to call the pens where migrant kids are being held after separation from their parents.
editor Joel B. Pollak wrote a post devoted to criticizing the AP’s word choice. “The AP’s choice of words is only the latest in what appears to be a series of politically-charged word choices by the wire service,” he said, and contrasted the AP dispatch with a story in the Los Angeles Times that described “chain-link fenced holding areas.”
.. Pollak insisted that the correct terminology is “chain-link partition.”.. The Border Patrol, CBS reported, took issue with that description, not because they felt it was inaccurate, but because they were “very uncomfortable” with the implication that the children were being treated like animals... Refusal to call a cage a cage merely because it makes someone uneasy—or, perhaps more importantly, because it is politically toxic—does not transform a cage into a “chain-link partition.”.. Then-Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said unaccompanied minors would be deported, labeling the practice a deterrent. There was outcry at the time, especially from immigration groups, and the Obama White House was forced to stop detaining families by a court. What is different now is that the children being held are being forcibly separated from their parents at the border. So is the scale of the issue—the Washington Examiner reports that there could be 30,000 such children in custody by August... The administration knew full well that the result would be separations. “If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally,” Sessions said in May... White House Chief of Staff John Kelly also said in May that the goal was to dissuade unauthorized immigrants from entering. “The laws are the laws. But a big name of the game is deterrence,” he told NPR. “It could be a tough deterrent—would be a tough deterrent.”.. By Monday, she was defending the same policy she claimed didn’t exist, saying in New Orleans, “It’s important to understand that these minors are very well taken care of. Don’t believe the press.”.. This, too, plays games with the truth, suggesting that the reason for the policy is that both parties won’t simply come together to pass immigration reform. But the battle in Congress over reform right now is mostly within the Republican Party, as moderates, conservatives, and leadership in the House fight over how to proceed on immigration... In theory, the falsehoods in these statements ought to be plain—the representations by Donald and Melania Trump and Nielsen are simply wrong, while Sessions and Kelly are more honest, if politically reckless, in their comments.