On Friday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC, as Ari Melber substitute hosted the show, he misleadingly gave the impression that President Donald Trump's administration were the ones who began the practice of requiring illegal immigrant children to appear alone in court, even though his own network has previously noted that the questionable practice has been going on for years under previous Presidents.
At 10:44 p.m. Eastern, Melber informed viewers, "Here's some heartbreaking new details about Trump's immigration policy as it stands now," and then noted the latest numbers on how many children separated from their children in the spring are still separated from their parents.
He then brought up the sad case of a five-year-old child from Central America who was separated from her grandmother in July and then had to appear in court on her own. Showing an image of the girl's signature of her first name on a form, Melber explained:
We're leaving this up on the screen so everyone can take it in because this is America right now. You see Helen's attempt at that signature. Because she is a five-year-old, that is how she signs her name when told to. She doesn't have any family here -- she is literally fending for herself.
A bit later, Melber introduced a segment with Lee Gelernt of the ACLU and Jess Morales Rocketto of the group Families Belong Together as guests. The MSNBC host began by lamenting that "More and more children are in immigration courts in America right now because of Donald Trump's policies," recalled the case of a two-year-old who had to appear in court, and then added: "That is another one of these stories we are documenting as we understand where this policy is going."
After bringing aboard his liberal guests, Melber began by posing: "When people look at this and they say, 'I thought Trump backed down,' which he partly did, 'and I thought America was a country with safeguards no matter who was President,' why is this happening to children this young in court right now?"
Rocketto complained that the Trump administratoin is trying to "put fear in immigrants," and Gelernt called the policy "gratuitous cruelty" as no one informed viewers that it has previously been the case that children sometimes appear in court on their own.
In fact, MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle discovered this fact to her dismay as NPR's Maria Hinojosa appeared on MSNBC Live in June.