President Donald Trump’s administration once again propped up grieving family members in an apparent effort to defend this summer’s policy of separating immigrant children from their families at the border.
In a video posted to the White House’s official Twitter account Wednesday, several family members expressed sorrow over the death of their children whose assailants happened to be undocumented immigrants. Their pain and anger is real, however misguided it may be at the entire population of undocumented immigrants, which multiple studies have shown are not associated with an increase in crime.
Nearly 10 times, people in the video say they’ve faced a “separation” or been “separated” from their family members ― a clear allusion to the language critics used to describe Trump’s since-axed policy of splitting children from their parents as they arrived at the U.S. border.
The text of the tweet focuses on the death of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts. Law enforcement said Tuesday that an undocumented immigrant confessed to killing her ― though the man’s lawyer has contested his immigration status.
“They are not alone,” the White House wrote of Tibbetts’ family.
In a video Trump posted hours later, he reiterated that Tibbetts being “permanently separated” from her family sheds light on the need for his proposed border wall and stricter immigration laws.
It’s not the first time Trump’s administration has leaned on grieving families to defend his border separation policy, which ended more than two months ago, though many families are still dealing with the fallout from it.
Amid the border crisis in June, he held a news conference flanked by several family members with similar stories to those in Wednesday’s video.
“These are the American citizens permanently separated from their loved ones,” Trump said, before sharing false statistics about immigrant crime. “The word ‘permanently’ being the word that you have to think about. Permanently. They’re not separated for a day or two days. They are permanently separated.”