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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 CoonsChris Andrew CoonsKhashoggi fiancée: Not punishing Saudi crown prince would be 'stain on our humanity' GOP says Ron Klain pulling Biden strings Pompeo: Release of Khashoggi report by Biden admin 'reckless' 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 DurbinDick DurbinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate Dems face unity test; Tanden nomination falls Biden coronavirus relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority Hillicon Valley: Senate confirms Biden Commerce secretary pick Gina Raimondo | Wray hints at federal response to SolarWinds hack | Virginia governor signs comprehensive data privacy law MORE (D-Ill.), but said President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm 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.