Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzPoll: Trump dominates 2024 Republican primary field Republican politicians: Let OSHA do its job O'Rourke prepping run for governor in Texas: report MORE (R-Texas) is defending the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrants from their children when they are apprehended at the border, saying it can't be avoided when people illegally cross the border.
"There's actually a court order that prevents keeping the kids with the parents when you put the parents in jail," Cruz told the Dallas public radio station KERA on Monday, according to a report in The Dallas Morning News.
"So when you see reporters, when you see Democrats saying don't separate kids from their parents, what they're really saying is don't arrest illegal aliens," Cruz said.
Since the separation policy was announced last month, the Trump administration has been heavily criticized for what opponents say is a cruel practice. The separation happens before a parent is convicted and is carried out regardless of whether a migrant is seeking asylum.
President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE has blamed Democrats for the separations, arguing that the policy was in place before he took office and that he has to enforce the laws.
However, Cruz also said that Trump was responsible for the ongoing separations.
"There is a reason why under the Obama administration that often didn't happen, because when they apprehended people here illegally, they just let them go. And when you let them go, you didn't separate children from parents," Cruz said. "There's no doubt that illegal immigration causes human tragedies and many of those tragedies are visited on kids."
The issue has created another contention point between Cruz and his Democratic challenger for his Senate seat, Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D).
"You are either for separating children from their parents or you are against it. I am against it," O'Rourke posted on Facebook last month.
Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability Stanford professors ask DOJ to stop looking for Chinese spies at universities in US Overnight Energy & Environment — Democrats detail clean electricity program MORE said the practice was a way to deter illegal immigration but the Homeland Security Department has also said that the policy is not for deterrence.