Appearing as a guest on Friday's MSNBC Live, NPR's Maria Hinojosa informed host Stephanie Ruhle that much of what liberals having been criticizing about President Donald Trump's detention of illegal immigrants is not much different from what was already being done during the Obama administration, in spite of the liberal media only just recently giving it attention.
At one point, Hinojosa even corrected Ruhle when the MSNBC host claimed that children had not previously had to speak for themselves without an attorney in immigration court.
After Ruhle asked why the Trump administration seemed unprepared for the recent increase of illegal immigrant children kept in detention, Hinojosa claimed that the Border Patrol had been "dehumanizing" illegal immigrants for years:
When I was reporting inside the detention centers in 2011 -- okay, during the Obama administration -- the way that people spoke inside were like, "Oh, who cares if they get food with maggots? Who cares if they're getting beaten up? They're just a bunch of illegals, right?" So you are just consistently dehumanizing people and then it's like, "Oh, well, so you can't find the mother -- you can't find the kid -- meh!"
Ruhle followed up:
But, to that point, when President Trump likes to say, "This isn't a new policy -- it's always existed." If you could just help us understand what that means. Because when you're saying you're in those centers in 2011, and we're saying this is new -- help us understand the difference because it is new that children as young as three years old have to represent themselves in court.
The NPR host shot back: "Actually, no."
After Ruhle exclaimed, "Oh, I'm wrong," Hinojosa elaborated:
It's not new. So children have been coming to this country for years. The first time I was covering this was during the Elian Gonzalez story which was 20 years ago, okay, so that's when we first started seeing children coming. So the officials -- both Republicans and Democrats -- and the officials have known that this is happening. So the fact that they don't have a plan is, again, part and parcel of the fact that they don't really care.
The MSNBC host followed up: "But we're just hearing that three-year-olds have to defend themselves in court -- that's always been the case?"
Hinojosa explained that immigrant children have long had to speak for themselves in court if they could not afford an attorney.