GOP lawmaker questions parents bringing their children across the border

Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney (N.Y.) on Wednesday questioned migrant parents bringing their children across the U.S.-Mexico border, saying many children wind up making the perilous journey alone.

“I think we can look and say there are many of these children we found out are not with their parents and they’re young children who are vulnerable,” Tenney told Hill.TV co-host Krystal Ball on "Rising." "Why would you do that?"


Tenney said that children should be separated from their parents “in some cases” and compared families separated at the border to neglected or abused children being taken away from their parents by Child Protect Services.

“Child Protective Services take children from their parents every day — parents who can’t handle their children,” Tenney told Hill.TV.

Children who arrive at the the southern border are detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and put in detention facilities. Under federal law, unaccompanied minors are placed under the supervision of the Department of Health and Human Services.

There has been a surge of unaccompanied minors coming to the U.S. in recent years. In 2014, the government detained 47,000 unaccompanied minors in just five months.

There was also an uptick under President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE’s “zero tolerance” policy that resulted in the separation of thousands of migrant children from their parents as the adults faced prosecution for illegally crossing the border. Trump signed an order last month ending the practice of separately detaining children from their families.

The Trump administration has until Thursday to reunite more than 2,500 migrant children with their parents at the border.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenImmigrant advocacy groups seek restraining order to block Trump asylum policy The Hill's Morning Report - Trump faces mounting challenges to emergency declaration 2,000 asylum seekers return home, decide to stay in Mexico: report MORE told Fox News on Tuesday night that "it's certainly our intention" to meet the court-imposed deadline this week.

The federal judge overseeing the case has said the Trump administration is on track to meet the Thursday deadline. The government said in a court filing on Tuesday night that it had identified 1,637 parents eligible for reunification and 1,012 have been reunited.

— Tess Bonn