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Bernie Sanders: Separating immigrant families is ‘heartless’

Bernie Sanders: Separating immigrant families is ‘heartless’
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Live coverage: Cruz faces O'Rourke in Texas debate showdown Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP MORE (I-Vt.) on Sunday called President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE’s immigration policies “heartless.”

“I think it is heartless. I think the entire Trump views on immigration is heartless," Sanders said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

Sanders was responding to comments made earlier this week by White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE. Kelly told NPR in an interview that separating parents and children coming into the country illegally could be a "tough deterrent" 

“You know, in the last polls that I have seen, some 80 percent of the American people believe that we should provide legal status to the 1.8 million people in the DACA program who are eligible for DACA. And that's a program that Trump killed,” Sanders added, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protected immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

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Kelly has come under fire for his comments defending the practice of separating immigrant parents from their children upon being detained. 

The chief of staff also drew criticism for saying that the majority of immigrants in the country illegally are "not people that would easily assimilate into the United States.”

Sanders went on to call the White House’s immigration policies "cruel," saying they go against what most Americans want.

“The American people believe that we should move forward for comprehensive immigration reform,” he said. “Trump is moving in exactly the wrong direction. And we see the cruelty of his immigration policies when you talk about the United States government separating children from their parents.”