Key Dem blasts 'inhumane' Trump policy on border crossings

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) blasted the Trump administration's recently announced policy to increase its prosecution of parents crossing the U.S. border illegally, calling the move inhumane. 

"This misguided policy is another statement of cruelty from President Trump's Department of Homeland Security," Thompson, the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement.

"Let it be clear: the Department of Homeland Security's official policy is now to separate families - including mothers from their young children - when they seek assistance at the border between ports of entry," Thompson said in a statement. 

"Criminalizing parents seeking protection for themselves and their children is inhumane, excessively punitive, and can deliberately interfere with their ability to seek asylum."

Thompson's remarks come on the heels of an announcement from Attorney General Jeff Sessions of the administration's plans to increase prosecutions of parents crossing the border illegally, which would result in the separation of parents and their children. The idea behind the policy is to curb the number of people seeking to cross the border.

By prosecuting adults attempting to cross the border and then treating their children as unaccompanied minors, families would be separated as children are placed in shelters or with family while their cases for asylum are reviewed.

"If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law," Sessions said on Monday. "If you don't like that, then don't smuggle children over our border."

Reports surfaced in April that immigration and border officials were pushing Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to prosecute all parents crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally with their children in an effort to set an example for other migrants looking to cross the border illegally.