May 7, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Biden ad recalls Trump family separations

A young girl is trying on a colorful, traditional Guatemelan outfit. She has one arm up and another behind her back. two hands are trying the dress from the front but the person doing the tying is not visible.

A Guatemalan child, Adelaida, 10, with her mother, Maria, after being reunited in June 2021. They had been separated under the Trump family separation policy in July 2017. Photo: Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Biden campaign today launched a digital ad to remind Latino voters of President Trump's family separation policy at the border — officially announced six years ago today — which resulted in nearly 4,000 kids being taken from their parents.

Why it matters: The Biden-Harris campaign is upping its effort to puncture nostalgia for Trump's four years in office. Some Americans have increasingly embraced some of Trump's more extreme immigration policies and rhetoric.

Zoom in: The ad, called Ripped Apart, interlaces video of Trump making anti-immigrant comments with the cries of children who were separated from their parents.

  • The ad highlights Biden's efforts to reunite families.
  • "If Trump is re-elected, the chaos and cruelty we saw in his first term is the floor: he'll go even further to attack and demonize immigrants, while doing nothing to address the real issues plaguing our broken immigration system," Biden-Harris campaign manager Julie Chávez Rodríguez says in a statement.

Flashback: The separation policy — in place since late 2017 but formally announced in 2018 — and the torrent of news coverage about families was a pivotal moment in the Trump administration that largely turned public opinion against him. Trump reversed course in June 2018.

  • Families were separated as border authorities implemented a "zero tolerance" policy that required adults to be criminally prosecuted — a misdemeanor for first-time offenses — for crossing the border illegally.
  • That meant kids who had traveled with their parents were taken into government custody and, because of faulty tracking systems, many were apart from their parents for months.

The other side: Trump campaign spokesperson Karoline Leavitt says in a statement that Biden's "reversal of President Trump's immigration policies has created an unprecedented immigration, humanitarian, and national security crisis on our southern border and has led to highest rates of human trafficking on record."

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