Rep. Karen Bass knocked President Trump’s administration Thursday for continuing child separation ahead of a House Judiciary hearing on the immigrant detainment procedure.
The California Democrat said to CNN’s “New Day” the administration’s claims of dialing back separations is misleading because they are still separating children from non-parental family members.
“What the administration is saying is they have stopped, in most cases, taking kids away from their parents, but when is a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle or a sibling not family? So there are cases of grandparents who have come to the border with infants, with toddlers. They separate those children and call them unaccompanied minors. Tell me how a one-year-old, a two-year-old, can be an unaccompanied minor? So they have just redefined family,” she said.
Ms. Bass also said border officials have separated parents who are “not eligible to stay with their children” based on past criminal records.
“We have a child welfare system in this country. They make a determination on whether a parent is an abuser or is neglectful of their child,” she said. “Social workers are involved. A court is involved. Since when is a border patrol agent responsible for that. So we have a humanitarian crisis at the border that is being treated like a law enforcement problem.”
Ms. Bass said Congress has “no idea how many children there are that are still separated.”
“Frankly, I don’t believe what comes out of the administration, because we know they didn’t track those children to begin with,” she said.
“The children that they do know that are separated now, where are they now? What is going to happen to them next year? Will they be put in our foster care system that’s already inundated because of the opioid crisis? It’s a completely inappropriate way to deal with the situation, and I frankly believe it’s state-sponsored child abuse,” she said.