State Dept. Q&A unleashes condemnation, mockery of administration's immigration policy

A Facebook Live question and answer session hosted by the State Department on Tuesday promised "Family Travel Hacks,"...

Posted: Jun 20, 2018 10:59 AM
Updated: Jun 20, 2018 10:59 AM

A Facebook Live question and answer session hosted by the State Department on Tuesday promised "Family Travel Hacks," but soon became a platform for critics to blast the Trump administration over the separation of children and parents at the US-Mexico border.

"Are you traveling with kids this year?" the organizers ask in the event's description. "Have questions about getting their passports, and want tips to make travel easier?"

"Join us for a Facebook Live with Carl and Kim from Passport Services," they continued. "They'll share lots of tips with you to make traveling with the whole family easier."

But instead of the usual questions about applying for a baby's first passport, Carl and Kim were inundated with sarcastic queries about how to avoid family separation at the border.

"If I am mistaken for a foreigner trying to enter the country illegally and ICE takes my children away and locks them in a cage will the State Department help me get them back?" asked Facebook user Christian Day in an early comment.

"The children they kidnap"

"Hi," said user Mateo Vargas, "I just wanted to ask if the US government had measures in place to return the children they kidnap to their families?"

The questions continued for over two hours. Some alluded to audio recordings that first emerged on the nonprofit journalism organization ProPublica on Monday, in which children in detention were heard crying and asking to call family members.

"Before traveling I plan to help my child memorize phone numbers of family members," said Electra Lorraine Botts. "Will the detention tent camp workers have phones available for my child to call for help, or are phones banned because they might use them to film atrocities."

Other users expressed concerns about the conditions in the detentions centers.

"Any tips to beat the heat for toddlers locked up in a tent camp in 100+ degree heat in the Texas sun?" asked Matt Schneider. "And what type of baby pajamas go best with tinfoil blankets?"

"I can't find any of your child detention facilities on TripAdvisor," noted Barry Burciul. "Can you let me know which ones have the highest detainee satisfaction ratings?"

"Is this thing on? *tap tap*"

"Do you provide nut-free cages for children with allergies?" asked Chris Hampton.

"What's the difference between a cage and a chain linked partition?" said Joseph Saitta. "Asking for a child."

Will Urquhart was more pointed with his criticism, asking the silent government employees, "How do you sleep at night knowing you're part of an administration committing a crime against humanity and torturing children as hostages to try to get votes for a stupid border wall?"

At the time of this writing, more than two hours after the event began, there were over 50 such questions, but no responses from the State Department's passport services office.

User Christina Hale chimed in, "Is this thing on? *tap tap*"

Carl and Kim, who identified themselves by first name only, did post a video to the State Department consular service's Facebook page in which they cheerfully spoke about their own experiences getting passports for their young children.

In the video, the pair answer questions about applying for passports and replacing lost passports -- questions that did not appear to have been originated on the Facebook Live discussion page.

In a written response, a State Department official told CNN the event was part of "a public awareness campaign with tips and reminders for US citizens applying for their US passports -- the targeted audience is young parents applying for their child's first US passport."

"Our goal is to share practical tips for getting a US passport for US citizens and their families to prepare for summer vacations," the official continued. "The #FamilyTravelHacks campaign is a seasonal outreach campaign and some of the messages are similar to the ones we shared during last year's summer campaign."

"Many of the messages are part of the ongoing outreach Passport Services does throughout the year to help explain to parents how to apply for their kids' US passports," said the official.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 78632

Reported Deaths: 3113
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16437734
Lake7952283
Elkhart505191
Allen4161164
St. Joseph376683
Hamilton3033104
Vanderburgh212215
Hendricks1978109
Johnson1819119
Cass18139
Porter141539
Clark135250
Tippecanoe129312
Madison106266
LaPorte96730
Howard94865
Kosciusko87812
Bartholomew86747
Floyd86150
Marshall80523
Monroe78432
Vigo77913
Delaware77752
Dubois72912
Noble71729
Boone71646
Hancock70239
Warrick61230
Jackson6075
Shelby57328
LaGrange57110
Grant53330
Dearborn52828
Morgan50135
Henry46720
Clinton4624
Wayne41010
White38411
Montgomery36721
Harrison36524
Lawrence35927
Decatur35332
Putnam3318
Daviess29620
Scott28110
Miami2792
Jasper2662
Greene25934
Franklin25116
Gibson2464
DeKalb2444
Jennings23312
Ripley2218
Steuben2173
Carroll2135
Fayette2097
Perry18913
Orange18824
Posey1840
Starke1817
Wabash1805
Wells1802
Fulton1752
Jefferson1752
Knox1711
Sullivan1631
Whitley1626
Tipton15516
Washington1531
Clay1505
Spencer1403
Randolph1345
Huntington1303
Adams1242
Newton12110
Owen1131
Rush1004
Jay970
Pulaski841
Brown762
Fountain762
Pike670
Blackford662
Benton640
Ohio636
Vermillion620
Switzerland590
Parke581
Martin530
Crawford500
Union420
Warren251
Unassigned0207

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 106557

Reported Deaths: 3784
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin19287533
Cuyahoga14120523
Hamilton10001262
Lucas5609324
Montgomery4619101
Summit3749225
Butler310569
Marion295645
Mahoning2665259
Pickaway241142
Stark1947142
Warren191440
Lorain188477
Columbiana170461
Trumbull1598112
Fairfield147334
Delaware139219
Licking139053
Clark123516
Lake116343
Wood111558
Clermont100011
Medina98836
Miami89339
Allen84246
Tuscarawas80614
Portage78264
Greene76512
Mercer67613
Richland63512
Belmont62926
Erie62630
Madison58710
Ashtabula58246
Wayne58160
Geauga56445
Ross5285
Darke44230
Sandusky42117
Hancock4153
Huron4145
Ottawa40827
Athens3662
Lawrence3340
Holmes3326
Auglaize2888
Union2801
Muskingum2651
Scioto2651
Seneca2454
Jefferson2403
Shelby2344
Preble2302
Putnam22117
Knox2199
Washington21222
Coshocton1999
Champaign1922
Morrow1882
Hardin18312
Crawford1815
Clinton1806
Logan1742
Highland1712
Perry1693
Fulton1601
Ashland1593
Wyandot1589
Defiance1574
Brown1532
Williams1393
Fayette1270
Henry1252
Hocking1239
Guernsey1217
Carroll1155
Monroe9618
Gallia852
Pike810
Jackson790
Paulding740
Van Wert732
Adams682
Meigs660
Morgan320
Vinton322
Harrison261
Noble190
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 64°
Angola
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 61°
Huntington
Few Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 64°
Decatur
61° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 61°
Van Wert
61° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 61°
Weekend Storm Chances
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events