The Trump administration's decision to separate children from their parents at the United States' border with Mexico is akin to "child abuse," Judge Andrew Napolitano said Monday.
Napolitano appeared on Fox News and was asked about the controversial practice that has drawn criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
"I think the administration is motivated by the president's skills at negotiating, and I think he's trying to use children to turn up the heat on the negotiators," Napolitano said, alluding to President Donald Trump.
"Of course they have the discretion not to do this. In my opinion, it is child abuse to separate children from their parents unless it's necessary to save a human life. That's not the case here. There's a federal statute that says you can't separate them more than 72 hours. They know all of this."
Manuel Padilla Jr., Border Patrol chief for the Rio Grande Valley, said Monday morning that separating illegal immigrant families when they arrive at the U.S. border seeking admittance is necessary in curbing the problem of illegal immigration.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the policy in May, saying, "If you don't like that, then don't smuggle children over our border."
Napolitano accused the administration of cherrypicking how it enforces the law.
"They are picking and choosing which rules they want to follow rigidly and which rules they wish weren't there," he said.
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