On Tuesday evening, CNN's Wolf Blitzer seemed oblivious to the importance of verifying that illegal immigrants with children actually are the real parents after they drag the children across the desert to enter the U.S. illegally instead of simply walking into a legal port of entry, as the CNN host pressed HHS Secretary Alex Azar over why the Trump administration has not reunited children with their alleged parents more quickly.
And, on Wednesday morning's New Day, host Alisyn Camerota took Azar's comments out of context as he referred to the fact that about 80 percent of the illegal immigrant children his department is currently dealing with, in fact, entered the country without an adult as he recalled that his department has substantial experience at caring for immigrant children.
Shortly after 6:30 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday, after CNN senior political analyst John Avlon complained about the Trump administration failing to reunite all 102 illegal immigrant children under age five with their parents by the Tuesdaydeadline set by a court, co-host John Berman jumped in to mock Azar as he recalled:
You say, "callousness and incompetence." The Secretary of Health and Human Services Azar says, "No, no, no, this is great American generosity." Listen to what he told Wolf Blitzer.
After a clip of Azar discussing how his department takes care of "unaccompanied" children put in the custody of his department, Camerota was taken aback as she responded:
Can you believe that? Can you believe that? Hold on. What he's saying is that these are unaccompanied kids. No, they're not. The up to 3,000 -- most came with their parents. He is trying to change the narrative to make it sound as though, "We are being the, you know, very gracious hosts for these unaccompanied kids." That's not who we're talking about.
It was not mentioned that, earlier in the interview, Azar had pointed out that his department deals with 40,000 children a year, and that, out of 12,000 children currently in the system, almost 10,000 were already unaccompanied when they first entered the country illegally.
At about 8:20 p.m., during an interview with Washington Democratic Governor Jay Inslee, Camerota brought up the issue again. After CNN correspondent Miguel Marquez asserted that the government "never gave one thought to how they were going to put them back together," Camerota replayed the clip of Azar from his interview with Blitzer. She then frantically reacted:
Did you hear what the Secretary of Health and Human Services just said? "This is one of the great acts of American generosity and charity" -- the fact that these kids have been separated from their parents and the government can't reunite them on time.
In his Tuesday evening appearance on CNN's The Situation Room, Azar recalled that a portion of the 102 children under five in the care of HHS were found to be with parents who either were not the real parents, or who had criminal records or had abused the children. But Blitzer seemed oblivious to the value of taking the time to scrutinize immigrants who drag children across the border illegally as he repeatedly complained about it taking so long to return many of the children to their parents.