NY-22 Minute: Tenney Discusses Family Separation at the Border By Luke Perry
Claudia Tenney discussed immigration, including family separation, this morning on Talk of the Town (WUTQ in Utica). Tenney said the House is looking at a couple of different solutions. She believes the border has not been secured for 30 years, but the situation has never been exploited like this before.
Tenney emphasized that an estimated 10,000 of the 12,000 children detained by the Department of Homeland Security do not reach the border with their parents and are not separated by the U.S. government. Tenney agrees with the President that “the optics are terrible.”
Tenney believes the situation is “tragic.” She stated that “no one wants to see parents taken from children” in the “few” instances this has happened.
Tenney was unsure why people are now coming across the border in larger numbers. She speculated this may be driven by a desire to come prior to new immigration law that may make immigration more difficult.
Tenney believes some foreign nationals are legitimate asylum seekers, some are not. As a mother, Tenney could not imagine parents sending children on their own with a “coyote” (someone hired to transport people across the border). She described this as “neglect.”
Tenney said that all people involved should be treated in a “humane” and “careful” manner. At the same time, she also stated there are people with bad intentions trying to take advantage of the situation.
Tenney said we “can’t put a wall” completely across the border, due to natural challenges, like the Rio Grande, though still believes that Mexico will ultimately pay for a wall one way or another.
Tenney expressed disappointment that the Democrats are making light of the current situation, when she believes the same thing happened under the Obama administration.
Tenney said it is was “preposterous” and “idiotic” to suggest President Trump is politically exploiting the issue. She stated the president was “very concerned” and doesn’t want any child to be separated.
Tenney suggested the parents being prosecuted were those who sought to cross the border more than once, because first time offenses are misdemeanors. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued directives to change this earlier this year.
Anthony Brindisi, Tenney's opponent in the NY-22 campaign, has previously described the situation as “inhumane.” He believes current policy differs from previous administrations and “must stop.”
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Chair and Professor of Government at Utica College.
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