On Wednesday, CBS This Morning joined CNN in highlighting the case of an illegal immigrant who is suing the government because her one-year-old child tragically died after leaving an ICE detention center where she allegedly contracted an infection.
After a complete report ran, co-host John Dickerson incorrectly hinted that the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy was to blame for the death, suggesting that the government agency was not ready for the additional number of detainees, prompting agreement from co-host Gayle King.
However, not only were the pair detained and released under the old policy before zero tolerance took effect, but the total number of detainee deaths in FY2018 so far appears to be on track to be no greater than FY2016 which included most of President Barack Obama's final year in office.
At 7:42 a.m. Eastern, King introduced the story:
A Guatemalan mother says her baby died after falling ill in a Texas immigration facility, and now she is planning to sue the U.S. government. Border agents apprehended Yazmin Juarez and 19-month-old Mariee in March after they entered this country seeking asylum. Juarez blames inadequate medical care in the facility for her baby's death six and a half weeks later.
She then stated that there are "growing concerns over conditions for detainees" as she brought aboard correspondent Mireya Villarreal. A full piece by the CBS reporter ran in which she recalled that the pair had come to the U.S. to seek asylum in March when they were apprehended by the Border Patrol and placed in detention where the child became ill after sharing a room with other children.
The attorney in the case, Stanton Jones, claimed that the medical care provided was not adequate. The pair were released from detention in late March, and that day went to an emergency room where the baby died six weeks later.
After the report's conclusion, King commented: "I love that she has a lawyer. I love that she's pursuing this because just unimaginably painful to lose your daughter, and you're caught up in a system that really clearly has some flaws."
Echoing criticisms from the liberal media that the Trump administration was not prepared to deal with the aftermath of child separations from parents during the zero tolerance policy, Dickerson injected: "A system that wasn't prepared for this kind of thing."
King agreed: "Exactly, John, it's heartbreaking."
But the zero tolerance policy that resulted in all immigrants who crossed the border illegally being detained, leading then to be separated from their children, did not begin until April, which means they were apprehended under the old system.
Additionally, the insinuation that Trump administration policy changes resulted in an increase in immigrant deaths in detention centers ignores the fact that the most recent count of how many detainees have died in the current fiscal year suggests that the total number will likely be no greater than it was the end of the Obama administration.
So far in fiscal year 2018, which ends on September 30, the number of immigrants who have died while in detention centers stands at eight, but, according to the Daily Beast, in fiscal year 2016, which ended September 30, 2016, there were 10 deaths.
The number of deaths has varied year to year since ICE was formed in 2003, and the number reached a low of five in 2012, but, presumably because of the increase of illegal border crossings in 2014, the number had risen to 10 by the time President Barack Obama was leaving office.
Fiscal year 2017 -- which overlapped between the Obama and Trump administrations -- saw a slight increase to 12 fatalities. So fiscal year 2018 may actually see a slight decline.
Additionally, it was not mentioned that the mother crossed the border illegally instead of traveling to a legal port of entry, so the issue of whether she might have spent less time in detention if she had followed the law was not discussed.