People For the American Way

People For the American Way and The Lincoln Project Release Ad on the Trump Administration’s Intentional Cruelty in Separating Immigrant Children from Their Parents


Contact: Press Department at People For The American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202.467.4999

Ad References Recent Reports on the Goal of Cruelty, Missing Deported Parents, and Trump’s Own Words in the Last Presidential Debate
For English & Spanish language interviews, contact Kawana Lloyd, [email protected]For media related to The Lincoln Project, contact Ryan Wiggins, [email protected]  

WASHINGTON, DC— Today, People For the American Way (PFAW) and The Lincoln Project released a new ad in response to recent news that the federal government still cannot find the parents of 545 children who were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border as part of the Trump administration’s policy to discourage immigration that led to the separation of more than 2,800 families. Reports have also surfaced that cruelty was the goal of this policy.

The ad titled, “Cruel,” comes days after President Trump said, during the final presidential debate on Thursday, that his administration is working to reunite children with their parents and that the thousands of children taken into U.S. custody and crammed into cages at detention facilities have been “well taken care of.” At least six minors died in U.S. border patrol custody between September 2018 and May 2019. Experts note that family separation constitutes inhuman and degrading treatment, and that intentional infliction of severe mental suffering meets the definition of torture under U.S. and international law.

“Donald Trump’s hateful and racist anti-child, anti-immigrant, and anti-family policies have left hundreds of children vulnerable to horrific abuses, exposure to illness, the unbearable pain and terror of being separated from the protection of mothers and fathers who were seeking to give them a better life,” said People For the American Way President Ben Jealous. “Trump’s disgusting and cruel treatment of children is more proof that he is unfit to lead this nation and he has no place in what Frederick Douglass described as America’s destiny to be the greatest example of unity, inclusivity and human dignity that the world has ever known.”

“Throughout many decades the United States has stood against political regimes that intentionally inflicted harm on innocent children and their parents,” said Norman Lear, founder of People For the American Way. “It is deeply appalling to me that a United States president and his administration would sink to this level of inhumanity. We are happy to partner with the Lincoln Project in sending a message that we, the American people, will not allow this to be done in our name.”

“Separating children from their parents is considered an unfathomable cruelty,” said Reed Galen, co-founder of The Lincoln Project. “We now know there is no limit to the cruelty of the Trump administration. This is not this America any of us recognize or want to be a part of. We are not a nation that rips children from the arms of parents whose only wish is to provide them a safe and prosperous future.”

According to reports, about two-thirds of the parents might have been deported to their home countries. In 2018, People For ran English and Spanish language ads to remind voters about the heartbreaking trauma children were facing and the Republican party’s refusal to stand up to Trump’s horrifying attacks on immigrant families. The message was clear: Vote them out.


English ad link here; Spanish-language ad link here


Trump’s plan was to crush immigrant children, tearing them from their parent’s arms, locking them in cages.

That was the plan from the start.

Now 545 children are alone in the world.

They will never see their parents again, never hear I love you from their mother or father.

Five hundred and forty-five children with nowhere to go, no place to call home.

Five hundred and forty-five children who have had their childhood ripped away.

What will that trauma do to them? Who will they become?

It’s inhuman, it’s sick. It’s un American.

TRUMP’S VOICE: “They are so well taken care of.”

VISUAL: Never Again. Vote for Joe Biden

NARRATOR: Vote for Joe Biden

Disclaimer: Paid for by People For the American Way and the Lincoln Project who are responsible for the content of this advertisement. 

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About People For the American Way

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more:

About The Lincoln Project

The Lincoln Project is a group of prominent Republicans working to defeat the re-election of Donald J. Trump and those who support him. To learn more about The Lincoln Project, go to