(CNN) — Sen. Bernie Sanders said on Sunday that separating parents and children who come to the US without legal authorization would be “heartless.”
Sanders made the comment during “State of the Union” when CNN’s Jake Tapper asked him to weigh in on recent remarks from White House chief of staff John Kelly.
In an interview with NPR last week, Kelly was asked what he would say to people who say it would be “cruel and heartless” to separate a mother from her children and said, “I wouldn’t put it quite that way. The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever. But the big point is they elected to come illegally into the United States and this is a technique that no one hopes will be used extensively or for very long.”
Sanders reacted to that Sunday by saying, “I think it is heartless. I think the entire Trump views’ on immigration is heartless.”
The Vermont independent went on to say that “Trump is moving in exactly the wrong direction” on immigration policy.
“We see the cruelty of his immigration policies when you talk about the United States government separating children from their parents,” Sanders said.
CNN reported earlier this month that the Trump administration has made a decision to refer anyone caught crossing the border illegally for federal prosecution, which could lead to far more separations of parents from their children at the border.
“If you cross the border unlawfully, even a first offense, we’re going to prosecute you,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said recently. “If you’re smuggling a child, we’re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law. If you don’t want your child to be separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally.”