The Trump administration should concentrate on making sure that children who have been separated from their parents at the nation's southern border are reunited with them, but it doesn't seem that there is an urgency to make that happen, Rep. Adam Schiff said Thursday.
"I think our priority right now, second to none in terms of immigration, ought to be making sure that these kids are reunited with their parents," the California Democrat told CNN's "New Day."
"There ought to be nothing else of importance right now compared with that and we don't see the kind of urgency to this task that we really ought to by the administration. Sadly, that's not a surprise."
The administration, he added, was "perfectly comfortable" with separating families "as long as it put pressure on Congress to build the president's wall."
"Here in Congress, we need to insist on better of our country and of our president," he said. "We need to make sure these families are reunited."
However, the congressman said he does not think President Donald Trump's executive order, which results in whole families being detained rather than being separated, is the answer to the separation dilemma.
"We had a process that worked well before the administration changed that policy and that is, families were allowed essentially to be on probation where they were monitored intensely and required to show up for their court dates," said Schiff.
"That program was very successful, particularly with the asylum seekers. Like many things the president has done, he has created a crisis where there really wasn't one. We saw this months ago."
Schiff said he does not believe that everyone seeking asylum needs to be treated as a criminal.
"We had a process that I think was effective, when people came to the border seeking asylum with their families, with their kids, when they were worried for the life of their children, we didn't treat them as criminals for seeking a way out of the violence," he said.
"We put them through the asylum process where they would get adjudicated or they didn't have a valid asylum case in which case they were deported. We did it in a humane way. Whether the parents have a good case or a bad case for asylum, we weren't about to punish the children, but this president has shown a willingness to punish the children."
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