State Department Q&A backfires as public demands answers on stolen kids


The State Department's online event about family travel was overrun by people demanding to know why families are being ripped apart at the border.

The State Department tried to hold a "Family Travel Hacks" Q&A session on Facebook, inviting people to "ask your questions about traveling with kids" and to get tips from the department on how to "make traveling with the whole family easier."

But the event quickly turned into a complete disaster as the public again and again pushed for answers on Trump's policy of separating children from their families, which the United Nations' high commissioner on human rights called an "unconscionable" abuse of children.

Scheduled for 10-11 a.m., the agency did not answer a single question asked by the public during the allotted time period.


Rather than waste time on trivial travel tips, commenters pointed out how absurd it was for a Trump-led government to solicit travel advice for traveling families at the same time the Trump administration has been separating families at the border.

The spectacular failure of the session is another manifestation of the grassroots revolt and revulsion echoing across the country in reaction to the cruel new policy.

A sampling of the questions and comments that were presented by the public:

  • "OH! By "Family Travel Hacks" you mean you hack families apart. Got it."
  • "I can't find any of your child detention facilities on TripAdvisor. Can you let me know which ones have the highest detainee satisfaction ratings?"
  • "Hi! I need a travel tip. What can the State Department do to help the children who are being ripped from their parents' arms?"
  • "Hi, I have a 3 year old who is potty training. When we arrive in the US, will she need to learn to change her own nappy or will another child be around to do it for her?"
  • "What fun vacation hacks does the US State Department have for kids to avoid sexual assault from guards during their indefinite detention?"
  • "Any tips to beat the heat for toddlers locked up in a tent camp in 100+ degree heat in the texas sun? And what type of baby pajamas go best with tinfoil blankets?"
  • "Hi, what does a person do if they arrive in a country and their baby is ripped from their arms and put in a cage?"
  • "I am German and planning a three-week trip to Disneyworld in Florida with my two sons this year. However, I am somewhat worried that something could go wrong at the border. Do you detain European citizens? If so, would I be separated from my children? Should I register with the German embassy before the trip in case something goes wrong?"
  • "My children are internationally adopted and look nothing like me. I'm terrified of travelling with them, particularly my son from Guatemala. Are there regions of this country I should avoid? Do I need to carry certain documents with me? What kind of country have we become?"
  • "What's the best way to protect my family from being separated at the US border?"

Nobody from the State Department answered the pointed questions or responded to any of the comments.

Instead, the posts stand as a pointed rebuke of the Trump administration's cruel and uncompromising stance against families.

Under normal circumstances, this sort of question and answer session with government representatives would be unremarkable. But thanks to Trump's embrace of extremism and cruelty, even a supposedly innocent and helpful exchange with the public has been tainted.

So the public has taken this opportunity to draw a moral line in the sand and let Trump's government know just how unacceptable this inhuman treatment of children is.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.