This post has been updated.
Update, June 18: Since this story was published, new photos have been released by the US Customs and Border Protection, revealing current detainment conditions for immigrants apprehended at the border. The current conditions closely resemble the Obama-era “cages” depicted in photos from 2014. In both cases, children are shown separated from their families, sleeping on the floor within steel-wire enclosures. Here’s what one detainment facility looks like today:
The Obama-era photos, shown below, were initially referenced in May as proof of the cruelty of the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration. At the time, some decried the pictures as left-leaning propaganda. On May 29, Donald Trump tweeted that the images predate his administration, and accused Democrat of trying “to make us look bad.” However, the newest photos released by US Customs and Border Protection show very similar conditions under the Trump administration.
Democrats mistakenly tweet 2014 pictures from Obama’s term showing children from the Border in steel cages. They thought it was recent pictures in order to make us look bad, but backfires. Dems must agree to Wall and new Border Protection for good of country…Bipartisan Bill!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2018
The Obama-era photos were originally shot for the Associated Press by photographer Ross D. Franklin, during a Jun. 18, 2014 visit to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) placement center in Nogales, Arizona. The shelters in those photos have since been closed.
This is not the first example of apparently harsh US treatment toward immigrants being attributed to the Trump administration. The recent examples below all date from the Obama administration:
- the existence of a special bus for detained children
- a Senate report (pdf) about a dozen immigrant children in the US government’s custody who were released to human traffickers
- an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report detailing “a pattern of intimidation, harassment, physical abuse, refusal of medical services, and improper deportation” by the US Customs and Border Patrol between 2009 and 2014