HHS Sec. Azar: Children Only Separated From Parents When Arrested For Crossing Border Illegally

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Oregon Democratic Rep. Suzanne Bonamici questions H.H.S. Sec. Alex Azar about the policy of separating children and parents when arrested at the border: "Is the policy of separating children from their parents in the best interest of those children?"

H.H.S. Sec. Alex Azar responds: "Individual children are separated from their parents only when those parents cross the border illegally and are arrested. We can't have children with parents who are in incarceration, so they are given to me."

"If one presents at an actual border crossing, and presents a case to come into this country, one is not arrested and one's children are not separated from them," he said. "So the best advice I have is, actually present yourself at a legal border crossing and make your case."





"If you cross illegally and get arrested, your children will be given to us," he added.

"That's the simple fact, it is not a desire, nobody has the desire to separate children from their parents."

Azar said Sen. Merkley description of children "in cages" is "completely incorrect." "He didn't actually see the children, because he requested at 4 p.m. on Friday to go visit a facility in Texas or California."

"These are minors, these are grantees running a program," he said. "These children are provided medical care, full education, dental, vision. They're provided athletics, meals."

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