By Ben Shapiro
On Thursday, the Associated Press reported on federal court filings regarding the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center in Virginia. Those court filings allege that children “as young as 14” were subjected to near-tortuous conditions, including being “locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells.” It gets worse. Here’s one account, from a 15-year-old Honduran detainee:
Whenever they used to restrain me and put me in the chair, they would handcuff me. Strapped me down all the way, from your feet all the way to your chest, you couldn’t really move. … They have total control over you. They also put a bag over your head. It has little holes; you can see through it. But you feel suffocated with the bag on.
The Associated Press corroborated stories of brutality with a former child-development specialist who worked in the facility, and said that she saw minor detainees with “bruises and broken bones they blamed on guards.” The AP continues:
Many of the children were sent there after U.S. immigration authorities accused them of belonging to violent gangs, including MS-13. President Donald Trump has repeatedly cited gang activity as justification for his crackdown on illegal immigration.
It takes until paragraph 19 of the story to learn that the allegations of abuse began during the Obama administration:
The complaint filed by the nonprofit Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs recounts the story of an unnamed 17-year-old Mexican citizen apprehended at the southern border. The teen fled an abusive father and violence fueled by drug cartels to seek asylum in the United States in 2015. After stops at facilities in Texas and New York, he was transferred to Shenandoah in April 2016 and diagnosed during an initial screening by a psychologist with three mental disorders, including depression.
The allegations are indeed horrific — and they are allegations rather than confirmed stories. But the media have run with this story to suggest that the Trump administration has been especially brutal to illegal immigrant minors — even though the ACLU released a report in May talking about “widespread abuse of migrants in US custody” from 2009-2014, when a certain non-Trump figure was president, and even though the AP report doesn’t date all of these accounts of horrific treatment — and many of the ones they do date took place when Obama was in the Oval Office.