- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Illinois Democrat, said Tuesday that the influx of children coming over the border into the U.S. is a humanitarian crisis and should be separated from the larger debate on immigration.

“These are children. First of all, we should depoliticize it as part of the immigration debate,” he said on MSNBC.

Critics say the large number of young immigrants is a result of President Obama’s unilateral moves to grant tentative legal status to children, as well as talk in Congress of a broader legalization such as the Dream Act. But Mr. Gutierrez said that’s not a valid argument because children would have had to be in the country years ago to qualify for either policy. He said many who say that are opponents of larger immigration reform and just using this latest incident to speak out against it.

“What Congress needs to do first of all is not try to use this as an excuse not to do comprehensive immigration reform,” he said. “What is driving the children to the border is violence, the cartels and drugs.”

He said children flocking to the U.S. to escape violence is not a new thing and that the children who cross the border get younger and younger.

“It used to be they were 16-, 17-, 18-year-old children, now you have 10 and 11. It used to be they were mostly male, now it’s half girls, little girls, who are coming to our country,” he said.

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