Morning Joe Cites Unconfirmed Story on Air About Migrant Child Dying While in Government Custody

• August 1, 2018 10:59 am


MSNBC's "Morning Joe" hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski ended their Wednesday show by citing an unconfirmed story about a migrant child dying while in government custody. The couple acknowledged the story was unconfirmed but still cited it on air.

"So, we're checking the story about a child who an immigration lawyer said I think, a news outlet retweeted that a child may have died in custody. There is no confirmation of that story yet," Scarborough said. "So, if we get confirmation, we'll let you know."

The story that the MSNBC host referenced originated from Twitter. Immigration lawyer Mana Yegani tweeted that a child died after her stay at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Texas.

"The child died following her stay at an ICE Detention Center, as a result of possible negligent care and a respiratory illness she contracted from one of the other children. The events took place in Dilley Family Detention Center in south Texas," Yegani tweeted.

The claim went viral with reporters and activists sharing the tweet. Some reporters asked for more details so they could confirm the story on their own.

ICE responded to the news and called the reports false.

"Reports that a child died in ICE custody at Dilley are false," ICE stated.

The recent controversy surrounding ICE and the handing of illegal immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border kicked off after the Trump administration implemented a zero-tolerance policy toward illegal border crossings, charging all individuals who cross the border illegally with unlawful entry. The policy resulted in the separation of minors from their parents. Due to the resulting backlash, Trump signed an executive order to stop the separation of parents and children at the border. The Trump administration is now working to meet a federal judge's deadline to reunite families.

Joe and Mika argued the confusion about the story is because the Trump administration's lack of transparency.

"The problem is the lack of transparency you're hearing from immigration lawyers and you're hearing from local news reporters that are following this story. But we hear nothing from the government about –" Scarborough said.

"And you can't see the children," Brzezinski interrupted.

"Just like yesterday, we heard that these children are, you know, scrubbing toilets with their bare hands and being treated terribly. But we get no information, no transparency from the government. So, for the life of me, I can't figure out why Congress can't do more to get that — They fund all of these agencies. They have the checkbook," Scarborough said. "I would stop all appropriations where it hurts the president, the administration the most. Unless we get transparency and know the state of these children, who they are, where their parents are, and how to help this."