White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders clashed Thursday with reporters who confronted her on the Trump administration’s policy of separating families who illegally cross the border into the U.S.
Sanders fielded several questions on the issue during Thursday’s press briefing. She repeatedly deflected blame onto Democrats, but CNN’s Jim Acosta and Playboy’s Brian Karem pressed Sanders on the morality of the policy.
When Acosta asked Sanders about Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSessions defends firing Comey, warns DOJ report could prompt more terminations President of Catholic bishops group calls policy separating migrant families ‘immoral’ Sessions moves to protect houses of worship from discrimination MORE citing the Bible as justification for separating families, Sanders did not directly address Sessions’ comments, but added that “it is very Biblical to enforce the law.”
“Where in the Bible does it say that it’s OK to take children away from their parents?” Acosta interjected. “You just said it’s in the Bible to follow the law.”
“I know it’s hard for you to understand even short sentences, I guess, but please don’t take my words out of context,” Sanders said.
“How is it a moral policy to take children away from their parents,” Acosta asked. “Can you imagine the horror that these children must be going through when they’re coming across the border? Why is the government doing this?”
Sessions announced last month that the Justice Department would enact a “zero tolerance” policy and aggressively prosecute adults attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. He said the process could lead to children being separated from their parents upon being apprehended.
Trump administration officials have defended the policy, arguing it acts as a deterrent against illegal immigration.
On Thursday, Sanders echoed the president’s past line of attack in blaming Democrats for the policy, saying they’ve failed to address flawed immigration laws.
“We would like to fix these loopholes, and if Democrats want to get serious about it instead of playing political games, they’re welcome to come here and sit down with the president and do something about it,” Sanders said.
Karem then jumped in to question if Sanders felt empathy for the migrant children.
“Come on, Sarah. You’re a parent. Don’t you have any empathy for what these people are going through?” he asked.
“I know you want to get some more TV time but that’s not what this is about,” Sanders said.
“These people have nothing. They come to the border with nothing and they throw children in cages,” Karem continued. “You’re a parent. You’re a parent of young children. Don’t you have any empathy for what they go through?”
Reporter asks @PressSec about the separation of immigrant children from their parents at the border.
“Sarah, you’re a parent. Don’t you have empathy for what these people are going through?” pic.twitter.com/Jh41PUR3Uj
– MSNBC (@MSNBC) June 14, 2018
Sanders did not address Karem before taking the next question.
Democrats and immigration advocates have expressed concern about the treatment of migrant children who are separated from their parents.
Reporters on Wednesday toured a facility in Texas that houses more than 1,400 migrant children. One MSNBC reporter said the children there are “effectively incarcerated.”