Democratic senator: White House has 'used cruelty to children' as a tool of immigration policy

Democratic senator: White House has 'used cruelty to children' as a tool of immigration policy
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenate committee approves 0 million for state election security efforts Media and candidates should be ashamed that they don't talk about obesity Bill to return B in unredeemed bonds advances MORE (D-Del.) on Sunday blasted the Trump administration’s handling of immigration, accusing the White House of using “cruelty to children” to affect policy changes.

“We've got an administration that has intentionally used cruelty to children as a tool of immigration policy,” Coons said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” citing reports of overcrowding and unsanitary conditions at detention facilities.

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“There are ways in which the administration has demonstrably failed in its moral responsibility to provide minimally reasonable care for children in their custody,” he added.

Coons also hit acting United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli, the previous guest on the show, for blaming the conditions on “loopholes” in asylum law.

“These aren’t loopholes, these are core features of American law,” he told CBS’s Margaret Brennan.

Coons said Congress is willing to address immigration issues, noting ongoing bipartisan efforts by Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes | Senators press FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately | House panel tees up e-cig hearing for next week Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to 'cooperate' on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts Bipartisan group of senators urges FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately MORE (D-Ill.), but said President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE had complicated the process by repeatedly reversing himself on proposals he appeared to support after receiving criticism from the right.

“The challenge [for Congress] is the ways in which President Trump initially embraces and then abruptly reverses himself and opposes those bipartisan proposals that have been brought to him,” Coons said.

“The president just needs to be clear about what he’s willing to embrace” and secure majority support from congressional Republicans as well, Coons added.