NASHVILLE, Tenn. (NewsChannel 5/CNN) - U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper says he's headed to Washington in an effort to resolve what he's calling an "humanitarian crisis" on the US-Mexico border, where at least 2,000 children have been separated from their parents as a result of the Trump administration's policy.
In a press conference Tuesday morning, Cooper said he's "deeply worried" about immigration, calling the Trump administration's policy "cruel" and "inhumane."
“This policy is deliberate cruelty. Kids are being damaged permanently every day. This is an embarrassment to the world and must end immediately,” Rep. Cooper said.
Cooper said Congress should and must act, and said a vote is scheduled for this week.
“We are an embarrassment to the world when we act this way,” Cooper said.
Last month, the administration publicly announced its decision to charge every adult caught crossing the border illegally with federal crimes, as opposed to referring those with children mainly to immigration courts, as previous administrations did.
Because the government is charging the parents in the criminal justice system, children are separated from them, with no clear procedure for their reunification aside from hotlines the parents can call to try to track their children down.
On Tuesday, the President's Twitter language further escalated his dehumanizing rhetoric amid a developing humanitarian – and political – crisis.
"Democrats are the problem. They don't care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13. They can't win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential voters!" he wrote.
In the past weeks, heartbreaking images and audio of children crying for their parents have captured the nation's attention as lawmakers seek to find a solution to end the separations and the White House doubles down on its insistence that it is simply enforcing the law.
Trump's hardline immigration rhetoric was a central piece of his campaign rallying cries, beginning with his campaign announcement speech in June 2015.
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