Former Republican Rep. Michael G. Grimm of New York dismissed the cries of migrant children separated from their families on the border as equivalent to the weeping of kids being dropped off at day care.
“I can take you to any nursery and you’re going to hear the exact same things. As a mother leaves to go to work and has to leave her child at day care, you’re going to hear those exact same things,” Grimm said during an interview with local news media Tuesday.
Grimm, who is challenging Republican Rep. Dan Donovan for the 25th District of New York congressional seat, was referring to audiotapes secretly recorded and released by ProPublica of migrant children wailing after being separated from their parents.
Grimm also said the migrant children’s situation is “extremely unfortunate,” but added that the children in temporary shelters “have not been that safe for a long time” and are experiencing better conditions than where they came from.
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‘If you look at some of the videos that were taken, they have flat screen TVs, pool tables, foosball — they have things they have never even seen before in their country,” Grimm said.
Grimm’s comments came amid a firestorm over President Donald Trump’s policy that separates migrant parents from their children after crossing the border. Congressional Democrats and dozens of Republicans have objected to the policy as “cruel” and “inhumane.”
Administration officials have offered contradictory and sometimes inaccurate defenses of the policy, including that it serves as a deterrent for illegal immigration, is necessary to fully enforce immigration law or is not a new policy at all.
Grimm is currently running in a primary for the seat he previously held until 2015, when he resigned after pleading guilty to tax fraud. He served seven months in prison.
Donovan is now struggling to keep his head above water in the primary race against Grimm. A June poll showed Grimm leading Donovan by double digits about a week after President Donald Trump endorsed the incumbent.
Donovan also offered a defense of the family separation policy on Tuesday, saying “the Trump administration is obeying the law.”
“A child comes across our borders unaccompanied, we take care of that child. The few thousands of children being separated by their families — the Trump administration’s interpretation of the law is that what they are required to do,” Donovan said.
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