Lost in the hysterics of "zero tolerance" is that the Obama administration not only separated families at the border, it provided the blueprint that the Trump administration used to enact its policy, McClatchy reports.
The "zero tolerance" of President Donald Trump may have taken it further, but Obama prosecuted mothers who crossed illegally, fast-tracked deportations, and erected tent cities to house unaccompanied children, McClatchy reports.
"It's been going on for many, many decades and many years," Trump said this week. "Whether it was President Bush, President Obama, President Clinton — same policies. They can't get them changed because both sides are always fighting. This is maybe a great chance to have a change."
The difference in the perception, McClatchy reports, is that while Obama downplayed the practice, Trump has loudly embraced it - until Wednesday's executive order - and has frequently used provocative language talking about migrants and illegal border crossings.
"No previous administration has referred to immigration as an infestation," Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, told McClatchy. "No president has ever spoken of immigrants and refugees in the awful way that President Trump has."
"The authenticity is big part of the attraction. (Trump is) blunt and bold but people will assign nefarious interpretation," Steve Cortes, a Trump ally who served on his Hispanic Advisory Council during the 2016 campaign, told McClatchy.
Further, protecting the border and restricting legal immigration were cornerstones to Trump's election platform.
But the notion that Trump was the first to implement controversial policies at the border is false.
Obama fought to block efforts to require unaccompanied children to have legal representation, for one, and he barred detained mothers with their children from being released on bond, McClatchy reports.
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