Immigrant children in detention in Texas, June 2018


: I spoke with Austria’s Radio FM4 on Thursday about the catalyst of the photograph of Oscar Martinez and his daughter Valeria, drowned in the Rio Grande as they tried to cross into the US.

Listen at 12:15

These were not the first family members to die trying to cross the border — there have been eight children and three adults who have died in the past two months.

But it was the vivid representation that these were not, as the Trump Administration portrays it, gang members or rapists. These were not thugs.

This was a father and a daughter seeking a better life, while the child’s mother watched from the Mexico side as they drowned.

We also discuss competing bills for aid to migrants in the House and Senate and answer, “With all of the power and money in the US, why are children sleeping on the ground in these detention centers?”

This is a complex problem, but the cause is simple. The Trump Administration’s priority is not on care for migrants. It’s on deterring and punishing anyone who comes into the US.

This is an Administration hell-bent on treating migrants as prisoners or worse.

On Monday, US authorities announced that they had moved hundreds of immigrant children out of an inhumane, overcrowded Texas detention facility, following revelations by lawyers who visited the center.

Meanwhile, the White House tried to deflect blame for the episode, saying it was only dealing with a long-term crisis and the failure of previous administrations.

Flu, Filth, and Lice: Inside a Texas “Concentration Camp” For Immigrant Children

I set the record straight in an interview with BBC World Service on Tuesday.

Listen from 29:37

There was a shift with this Administration’s “zero tolerance” not to allow people to remain free while asylum applications were being processed, but to detain them. This Administration launched the policy of separating children from parents.

And it is this Administration that has packed the children into facilities which are overcrowded and which do not have the basic standards of hygiene or care.