State Dept's Facebook event on 'traveling with kids' wins scorn amid border crisis
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A discussion on family travel tips hosted by the State Department drew backlash on Tuesday, with critics calling the event "tone deaf" in light of the Trump administration policy of separating migrant families.
 
The "Family Travel Hacks" Facebook Live was held by Passport Services workers, who explained how to travel with children and obtain their passports. The goal of the event, according to the description on its Facebook page, was to "make traveling with the whole family easier." 
 
The State Department has done other, similar passport question and answer videos in the past, including before the new policy separating families was implemented. 
 
"The #FamilyTravelHacks campaign is a seasonal outreach campaign and some of the messages are similar to the ones we shared during last year’s summer campaign.  Many of the messages are part of the ongoing outreach Passport Services does throughout the year to help explain to parents how to apply for their kids’ U.S. passports," a State Department official said in a statement to The Hill.
 
"#FamilyTravelHacks is a public awareness campaign with tips and reminders for U.S. citizens applying for their U.S. passports – the targeted audience is young parents applying for their child’s first U.S. passport. Our goal is to share practical tips for getting a U.S. passport for U.S. citizens and their families to prepare for summer vacations."
 
 
 
 
 
However, the timing of the video was met with criticism on Facebook and Twitter. Many suggested that to hold the event amid the uproar over President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE's so-called zero tolerance immigration policy was inappropriate.  
 

The Facebook page for the event was also taken over with comments and fake questions referencing the separation of migrant parents and children. 

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"When traveling can we pick which size cage we want our children to be jailed in?" one Facebook user questioned.

"Before traveling I plan to help my child memorize phone numbers of family members. Will the detention tent camp workers have phones available for my child to call for help, or are phones banned because they might use them to film atrocities?" another user wrote. 
 
The Facebook Live event is just the latest example of public backlash over the zero tolerance policy announced by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAlabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future Tuberville incorrectly says Gore was president-elect in 2000 Next attorney general must embrace marijuana law reforms MORE earlier this year.
 
Sessions said in his announcement that the U.S. would criminally prosecute all adults attempting to illegally cross the southern border into the U.S. As a result, families who crossed together would in some cases be separated, he said.

According to The Associated Press, nearly 2,000 migrant children have been separated from their parents in recent months.

Trump has repeatedly blamed Democrats for the policy, and administration officials have asserted that only Congress can fix the issue by passing immigration reform.  

Members of Congress have introduced legislation to end the practice of separating families, and have continued to urge Trump to end the policy himself. 

--Updated at 1:44 p.m.