Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Monday described the child detention facilities housing immigrant youth as “essentially summer camps.”
Ingraham’s comments come amid growing outcry over the Trump administration’s policy to prosecute migrants crossing the border illegally, leading to thousands of children being separated from their parents and housed in what the government is calling "tent cities."
“As more illegal immigrants are rushing the border, more kids are being separated from their parents,” Ingraham said. “And temporarily housed at what are essentially summer camps.”
Laura Ingraham describes the detention facilities where children are sent after being forcibly separated from their parents as "essentially summer camps." pic.twitter.com/K6ao3lbS6Q— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) June 19, 2018
Ingraham noted that The San Diego Union Tribune had compared the camps to “boarding schools.”
The paper wrote that “many elements” of one particular center “seem like what one would expect from a boarding school.”
Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Those predicting Facebook's demise are blowing smoke If bitcoin is 'digital gold,' it should be taxed like gold MORE announced the “zero tolerance” policy at the border earlier this year. The policy has received backlash from Democrats and Republicans, with dozens of lawmakers and other prominent political figures calling on President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden says Roe v. Wade under attack like 'never before' On student loans, Biden doesn't have an answer yet Grill company apologizes after sending meatloaf recipe on same day of rock star's death MORE to reverse the policy.
Trump has defended the policy, incorrectly referring to it as “law” and calling on Congress to change it. He has repeatedly blamed Democrats for the policy, despite it's being enacted by his White House.
Other members of the Trump administration have defended the policy as a necessary border security measure.
At the end of her show, Ingraham acknowledged the sharp online backlash to her remarks, but stopped short of apologizing.
“Apparently there are a lot of people very upset because we referred to some of the detention facilities tonight as essentially like summer camps,” she said.
She said that she would stick to describing the centers as being “like boarding schools,” in line with the Tribune’s description.
Ingraham also encouraged critics to send more time in Central America, and suggested that adoption processes should be easier for American couples.
“We should make adoption easier for American couples who want to adopt these kids who are true candidates for adoption because our policies don’t allow that,” she said. “So let’s put our hearts out there for the kids in the right way. Take care of them the right way. Open your hearts and your homes to them.”
The backlash to the controversial policy has grown as more details are revealed about the detention centers where children are being held. Images and audio have steadily emerged from inside the centers, with many lawmakers and media outlets describing the children as being held in “cages.”
An audio clip obtained by ProPublica on Monday reveals children sobbing for their parents, as one Border Patrol Agent jokes that they sound like an “orchestra.”
Members of the media and lawmakers have toured the facilities in recent days, but were not permitted to take photographs or video inside. U.S. Customs and Border Protection released footage from inside one of the centers that shows dozens of children inside metal chain-link cages, with many using emergency blankets for bedding.
—Updated Tuesday at 11:20 a.m.