MSNBC's Atencio Blames 'Racism & Xenophobia' for Illegal Alien Child Separation

July 29th, 2018 3:52 PM

On Sunday's AM Joy on MSNBC, during an update on the reunification of illegal immigrant children with their parents, MSNBC correspondent Mariana Atencio suggested that the enforcement of immigration laws by the Trump administration is motivated by "racism and xenophobia" as she recalled the cace of a detained illegal immigrant mother who is still waiting for her child to be reunified with her.

Host Joy Reid also was the latest host on MSNBC to conflate legal asylum seekers with illegal immigrants who only seek asylum after they get caught crossing the border illegally as she commented that "It is not illegal to seek asylum" -- as if seeking asylum were the reason the woman in question was being detained.

Describing the case of one illegal immigrant in detention who has repeatedly faced delays in being reunified with her child, Atencio recounted:

She's still separated, detained. Joy, I have to say, it is one of the most heartbreaking conversations that I've had in the past two months because she's essentially in prison. I spoke to her through a glass window on a prison-like phone, and she says, "Every day, I'm being told, 'You're eligible for reunification, but there's a holdup. There's another holdup.'"

After the MSNBC correspondent added, "I spoke to her on Thursday. It's Sunday -- she's still in there. And her child is not with her," Reid jumped in to inject: "And just to be clear, she's in a detention facility like a criminal. It is not illegal to seek asylum."

Atencio then lamented:

And she's in a place with other mothers that they refer to as "Alpha Three." So it starts to sound like a dystopian thriller here, and we can't avoid what happens when we don't confront this type of racism and xenophobia head on, and that's why I commend the job that you're doing -- this platform -- and the job that Jacob (Soboroff) has done

Notably, as Atencio recalled the woman who is detained but expects to be reunited with her child soon after repeated delays, it sounds similar to a case recalled on Friday's New Day on CNN as guest and attorney Eileen Blessinger seemed to hint at lawsuits from liberal groups which may still be preventing children from staying with their parents at family detention centers, just as the Obama administration faced, thus preventing children from being reunified with parents who are still detained.