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Trump, Biden have heated exchange over missing parents of separated children

The Boston Globe logo The Boston Globe 10/23/2020 Associated Press
a flat screen television in a dark room: President Trump and Joe Biden. © AMR ALFIKY President Trump and Joe Biden.

President Donald Trump is defending his administration’s separation of immigrant children who remain away from their families following detentions along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump said during Thursday’s debate that children are often brought across the border not by families but “by coyotes and lots of bad people.”

Joe Biden disputed Trump’s answer, saying kids “were ripped from” their families in 2018.

“These 500 plus kids came with parents. They separated them at the border to make it a disincentive to begin with...they got separated from their parents, and it makes us a laughingstock and violates every notion of who we are as a nation," Biden said.

The American Civil Liberties Union told a judge this week that there were still 545 children separated from their parents from 2018.

“They are so well taken care of, they’re in facilities that are so clean,” Trump added.

Trump said his administration had constructed more than 400 miles of his promised border barrier. He also said, “They built cages,” referring to Obama-era facilities depicted in media reports during the separations.

As he has done since the primary campaign, Biden defended the Obama administration’s immigration policy, admitting that it “took too long to get it right.”

Christina Prignano of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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