Sarah Huckabee Sanders cites Bible to defend detaining immigrant children
Sanders appeared to have a difficult time answering tough questions on immigration and family separation at the US-Mexico border.
Protestors rally at the 'Families Belong Together March' against the separation of children of immigrants from their families on June 14, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the Trump administration's policy of detaining nearly 1,500 immigrant children by citing the Bible during a press briefing on Thursday.
Sanders appeared to have a difficult time answering tough questions on immigration and family separation at the US-Mexico border and attempted to deflect the questions by blaming the Democrats.
Separation of families at the United States-Mexico border has come under severe scrutiny by activists, lawmakers and human rights organization across the world. The separation is a part of President Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy associated with the crackdown on immigration in the country.
The family separation policy was announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in May. Under the policy, Trump administration is taking children away from parents who illegally enter the country and then handing these children to the Department of Health and Human Services for reallocation.
During Thursday's press briefing, when CNN's Jim Acosta confronted Sanders about Sessions' claim that separating parents from children is rooted in the Bible, the White House press secretary replied saying that the law indeed is biblical.
"It is very biblical to enforce the law, that is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible," Sanders said.
Multiple reporters, present during the briefing, however, reminded Sanders that no one was forcing the administration to hold these children captive and there was no law which forces the children from being separated from their families.
"Can you imagine the horror these kids must be going through when they come across the border?" Acosta asked. "They’re with their parents and they’re suddenly pulled away from their parents ― why is the government doing this?"
"Because it’s the law and that’s what the law states," Sanders responded.
Acosta then told Sanders that "It doesn’t have to be the law. You don’t have to do that."
During a heated exchange between the reporters and Sanders, reporter Brian Karem stood up and asked the press secretary to have some empathy for the children, considering she herself is a parent.
"You’re a parent, don’t you have any empathy?” Karem asked. “Come on, Sarah, you’re a parent. Don’t you have any empathy for what these people are going through? They have less than you do. Seriously, Sarah, seriously. These people have nothing.”
Sanders, however, deflected the question and claimed that Karem was just looking for "more TV time."
Reporters, for the first time, were permitted to see a Texas facility on Wednesday, housing almost 1,500 immigrant children who were separated by the US government from their parents.
MSNBC reporter Jacob Soboroff said that those children, many of whom have been detained for months, are essentially living in a prison.
Talking about his experience at the facility, Soboroff said: "I kid you not, one of the first things an employee of the shelter said to me is when we walked inside, ‘Can you try to smile at these kids, because it’s weird to see people from the outside."
The employee then added: "They feel like animals locked up in cages being looked at."