GOP lawmaker compares cages for migrant children to chain-link fences on playgrounds

GOP lawmaker compares cages for migrant children to chain-link fences on playgrounds
© Greg Nash

Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerOn The Money: Lawmakers strike spending deal | US, China reach limited trade deal ahead of tariff deadline | Lighthizer fails to quell GOP angst over new NAFTA Lighthizer fails to quell GOP angst on trade deal Republicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial MORE (R-N.D.) defended housing detained migrant children in chain-link cages, comparing them to the chain-link fences found around playgrounds and baseball diamonds.

Cramer, the GOP nominee for a North Dakota Senate seat, said during an interview with North Dakota’s KTGO radio station on Wednesday that while he wanted immigrant families to stay together, the use of chain-link fences for migrant families was fine.

“By the way, chain-link fences are around playgrounds all over America, all over North Dakota, and the chain link fences allow line-to-sight visual connectivity with children and families,” Cramer said.


“There’s nothing inhumane about a chain-link fence ― if it is, then every ballpark in America is inhumane,” he continued.

Cramer was asked about those comments on a different radio interview with WDAY in North Dakota later Wednesday. When asked if he had heard audio of the children crying in a detention center, he said the chain-link fence is "irrelevant to the crying children."

“Well, chain-link fences have been used to protect children from predators on playgrounds, baseball diamonds, all kinds of sports courts and what not,” Cramer said.

“So to me, it’s not the chain-link fence,” he continued. “That’s not the issue. That’s a ruse by some on the left to try to create an image that’s far worse in description than it is in reality.”

Cramer added that the value of the chain-link fence is “you can see through it” and that a wall between children and staff “would be far worse.”

The lawmaker made the comments before President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day MORE signed an executive order Wednesday to end his administration's policy of separating immigrant families at the border.

The policy had been widely condemned, including by Democratic lawmakers who visited facilities housing the detained immigrant children. Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyMcConnell says he's 'honored' to be WholeFoods Magazine's 2019 'Person of the Year' Overnight Energy: Protesters plan Black Friday climate strike | 'Father of EPA' dies | Democrats push EPA to abandon methane rollback Warren bill would revoke Medals of Honor for Wounded Knee massacre MORE (D-Ore.), who visited one of the centers, said earlier this month that the facility looked like a "dog cage."