Fox News's Shep Smith becomes emotional discussing migrants' conditions

Fox News host Shepard Smith became emotional Wednesday as he discussed U.S. immigration policies, questioning when America changed its mission of accepting "your tired, your poor and your huddled masses."

"Through the history of this nation, we have said, 'Give us your tired, your poor and your huddled masses,'" Smith said on his daily Fox News program. "That’s what we’ve said as a society to people who were in a position where they cannot or their children cannot properly survive. And we have always, since the dawn of this nation, said, 'Then come. We’ll figure this out.'"

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"Since the dawn of this nation, every time those communities have come here, they have made America better," Smith said as he choked up. "We’ve always said yes. We’ve said ... 'If your heart is in the right place and your idea is in the right place and you want to come be a part of this grand experiment, we want you here.' When did we change that, and how do we get the previous back?"

Smith's comments came amid widespread outrage over the Trump administration's immigration policies and the treatment of migrants being detained in U.S. custody. 

Smith criticized the administration's policies surrounding asylum, stating that "the process of presenting yourself" at the U.S.-Mexico border has changed.

"The process now is lists are kept haphazardly. There aren’t official lists in many cases," he said. "People are just told, 'It’s going to be a long time,' at which point they go to migrant camps, where the temperatures are over 100 degrees."

He added that "there’s not adequate anything for anyone" at the detention facilities, arguing that such conditions were the result of the administration's "hope that [migrants] will be pushed back to wherever they came from."

"That was probably the hope," he said. "But they’re not going back. They’re not going back because it is horrendous where they came from."

Smith made the comments as GOP and Democratic lawmakers voiced outrage over the tragic image of a drowned migrant father and his 23-month-old daughter lying face down in the Rio Grande. A news agency in Mexico reported that the two had tried to swim across the river after being unable to request asylum in the U.S.

According to The Associated Press, the photo shows the bodies of the two migrants from Salvador, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his young daughter, Valeria. It was captured on Monday by journalist Julia Le Duc in Matamoros, Mexico.

Critics point to Trump's “metering” policy at the border, which they say has significantly reduced the number of migrants who are allowed to request asylum each day at legal ports of entry. The policy has reportedly produced a backlog of migrants who have been forced to wait on the Mexican side of the southern border.

Trump said he hated seeing the image of the migrants before claiming that the tragedies "could stop immediately if the Democrats change the law."