3/7/2017: Secretary Kelly confirms administration considering separating families. According to USA Today, in March 2017, then Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly confirmed that the Trump administration was “considering separating families at the border.” At the time, Kelly said, it would “deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network.” [USA Today, 6/27/2018]
4/20/18: NY Times report sparks national outrage. The New York Times published a report stating that “700 children have been taken from their parents since October.” According to USA Today, this report was the first to call attention to the scale of the separations. The report sparked a public outcry against the Trump Administration policies. [The New York Times, 4/20/2018]
5/11/18: AG Sessions confirms zero-tolerance policy ‘required’ family separation. Attorney General Jeff Sessions acknowledged that the zero-tolerance policy would require the separation of families on May 11, 2018. Further, Sessions said at the time, “If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.” He continued, “If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.” [USA Today, 6/27/2018]
5/25/18: Kim tweets a message of support aligning with Trump policy. Kim tweeted a message of support to the Trump Administration family separation policy on May 25, 2018: “I will fight to keep America safe by securing our borders and ports of entry, addressing threats from abroad, and giving law enforcement the tools they need to enforce the law and keep people safe.”
[@YoungKimCD39 Twitter, 5/25/2018]
6/7/2018: Kim praised Trump’s policies, urged audience to focus on Trump’s economic results, not ‘late night tweets.’ In an interview with the Korea Daily streamed live on June 7, 2018, Young Kim told the interviewer that Trump’s economic policies have strengthened America’s economy. Kim said:
“Through deregulation, our economy is growing. Through tax reform, American corporations overseas have returned to the U.S, and are producing here, reviving our economy. Seeing all of that, see in conclusion that it’s good for us. The president’s late night tweets, the way he talks, a style of talking we dislike, in conclusion, see that he helps us . . . At this time, the president we needed appeared. If you can see that, it’s OK to applaud him.”
This language originally appeared in Korean. [미주중앙일보 Youtube, 6/7/2018]
6/7/2018: Kim aligns with Trump policies: ‘We don’t have any difference,’ agrees Trump is doing very well…fixing past wrong actions. In an interview with the Korea Daily streamed live on June 7, 2018, Young Kim agreed with the interviewer who said Trump is ‘doing a good job’ and lauded Trump’s policies on deregulation and pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as well as the Paris Agreement. The reporter said,
“What do you think about Trump’s policies? I personally think he’s doing a good job. Deregulation, passing tax cuts, cutting 22 regulations for every new one, pulling out of the TPP, free trade agreements—America loses so much money from the free trade agreements—he’s working on fixing the trade deficit, I think he’s doing very well. I personally think we needed to pull out of the Paris Agreement because it was so unfair. And, North Korea. Diplomacy, too. The way I see it, at this point, Trump is fixing past wrong actions. That’s the feeling I get. I’m curious about what you think.”
Kim replied, “We don’t have any difference there.”
This language originally appeared in Korean. [미주중앙일보 Youtube, 6/7/2018]
6/7/2018: Kim says CA sanctuary state law ‘ties the hands of local law enforcement.’ In an interview with the Korea Daily streamed live on June 7, 2018, Young Kim said that California’s sanctuary state law “ties the hands of local law enforcement.” This language originally appeared in Korean. [미주중앙일보 Youtube, 6/7/2018]
6/18/2018: Two months after initial reports, still no plan to reunite families. The New Yorker reported that, nearly two months after The New York Times first reported the Trump administration’s family separation policy, the administration still did not have plans to reunite families. [The New Yorker, 6/18/2018]
6/18/2018: Trump administration released photos of detention centers, increasing backlash. Vox reported that the Trump administration released photos and video of the detention centers where children separated from their parents were being held in an “attempt to quiet criticism” as the Trump administration “faced immense backlash over its ‘zero-tolerance’ policy.” However, the images were “only increasing critics’ horror.” Reportedly,
Rather than prove the administration’s point, the images of the McAllen facility only serve to further illustrate the horrific nature of its practices, showing kids held in metal enclosures sprawled atop mattresses laid on a concrete floor, with little around them except flimsy space blankets. ‘More than 1,100 people were inside the large, dark facility that’s divided into separate wings for unaccompanied children, adults on their own, and mothers and fathers with children,’ the Associated Press reported, following a Sunday visit.
6/19/2018: Bay Area family starts $20 million fundraiser for RAICES. In June 2018, after a Bay Area couple saw a photo of an “anguished 2-year-old Honduran girl looking up at her mother, who was being searched by a United States border patrol agent in southern Texas,” they started an online fundraising effort for the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. The couple originally aimed to raise $1,500, but eventually raised over $20 million. [The New York Times, 6/19/2018]
6/20/2018: Trump signed executive order to end family separation. On June 20, 2018, at 8:45 am, President Trump signed an executive order “designed to keep migrant families together at the U.S.-Mexico border,” following public outcry. This move was antithetical from his original statements that family separation was enforced by “ironclad law” that he could not reverse. [Federal Register, 6/20/2018]
6/20/2018: Two full months after crisis first reported and on the same day that Trump publicly reversed his position, Kim says she opposes family separation; calls for legislation but caveats ‘we must enforce our laws.’ On June 20, 2018 at 8:31 pm, the Kim campaign posted a statement on its official Facebook page denouncing family separation and calling for legislation. The post read:
As an immigrant, mother, and American, it breaks my heart to see families separated and I am relieved that an executive order, stopping the policy of family separation, was issued. We should have never ended up at this point but now Congress must pass legislation to stop this from happening in the future. I believe that we must enforce our laws, secure our borders, and encourage legal immigration to this country. However, while doing this we must make sure that our laws are enforced in a humane way that upholds the values that so many come to this country to pursue. The policy of separating families that cross the border illegally does not live up to these values. We must work to preserve family unity and keep children safe throughout our immigration system. Issues with our immigration system have persisted because of the broken politics of Washington. Politicians would rather demonize their political opponents than address the problems we face. This must stop and as your representative I will work to bridge the partisan divide and deliver results that matter to the people of this district.
[Young Kim for Congress Facebook, 6/20/2018]
6/24/2018: Kim says seeing immigrant children separated from parents ‘breaks my heart.’ In June 2018, the Los Angeles Times reported on the “bipartisan outrage over Trump’s policy of separating migrant children from parents arrested for crossing the border illegally.” Kim stated, “Seeing families separated ‘breaks my heart’ and that she wants immigration laws to be ‘enforced in a humane way.'” [Los Angeles Times, 6/24/2018]
7/11/2018: Kim says 39th district does not care about family separation, asks for ‘real story behind’ devastating photos. In July 2018, Bloomberg reported that Kim,
Said the issues most important to the district are access to education and the business climate. ‘This district, they care more about, ‘Do I have a roof over my head?’’ she said. ‘Is this where I can raise my children and provide good quality education?’ While separating illegal immigrant children from their parents troubled [Kim], she said, she chose not to make a political issue out of it.
According to Kim, “If you ask me personally what happens at the border, it worries me, it concerns me. I don’t want to see a crying child, but what’s the real story behind it?” Orange Juice Blog reported on Kim’s comments, saying,
Yeah, go ahead and fill in the blanks. Young Kim, 1941: ‘I don’t want to have to see a bunch of Jews exterminated, but what’s the real story here?’ Young Kim, 1859: ‘I hate to see so many Negroes enslaved, but come on, there has to be some story behind this.’ This is the talk of a woman who doesn’t give a damn, hadn’t put a minute of thought into this ongoing outrage until Bloomberg asked her – and even now can’t be bothered to come up with some alternative explanation to make everyone feel better, but just suggests there might be one.
7/11/2018: Kim did not oppose family separation until ‘Trump himself reversed his position.’ According to Bloomberg in July 2018, Michael Latner, an associate professor of political science at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, noted Kim “didn’t take a stand against the administration’s policy of separating illegal immigrant children from their families until the day after Trump himself reversed his position.” [Bloomberg, 7/11/2018]
8/22/2018: Administration official said ‘the expectation was…that no one would care.’ In August 2018, the New Yorker reported that a current administration official commented on the scale of the public outcry at the time:
It had [caught the government by surprise], the official said. ‘The expectation was that the kids would go to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, that the parents would get deported, and that no one would care.’ Yet, when it became clear that the public did, the Administration chose not to change course.
[The New Yorker, 8/22/2018]