Rep. Cardenas: 'Republicans Want to Indiscriminately Return Children to Their Deaths'

By Susan Jones | August 1, 2014 | 10:54 AM EDT

In this June 20, 2014 photo, a woman is helped from one boxcar to another, as Central American migrants wait atop the train they were riding north, hours after it derailed in Chiapas state, Mexico.  (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

( - "Republicans want to indiscriminately return children to their deaths!" Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.) said in remarks on the House floor on Friday, as members of the House of Representatives were forced to delay their August recess to deal with a border appropriations bill.

Cardenas was one of many Democrats who blasted Republicans for wanting to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States.

And in a bit of political theater, the Friday morning debate was interrupted by dozens of Democrats stepping forward in futile attempts to bring up the "comprehensive immigration reform bill" passed by the Senate.  Each request to introduce the bill was blocked by Republicans.

In response to Cardenas, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) noted that President Obama himself has said that most of the children will be returned to Central America. And if they seek refugee status, they can do it at the U.S. Embassies in their home country, without making the dangerous journey from Central America across Mexico into Texas, Cole said.

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) accused Republicans of being mean-spirited and having a "collective hissy fit" over the influx of tens of thousands of illegal aliens.

"There are nearly 50 million refugees around the world. Fifty-million people fleeing violence, brutality, oppression, famine, disease. Fifty million! But when 50,000 minors, one tenth of one percent of the total number, arrive at our border, my Republican friends have a collective hissy fit. Is this really the face of America that we want the rest of the world to see?

"The United States of America -- a nation of immigrants. Do we really want the rest of the world to see us like this, petty and mean and small? I hope not."

Rep. Cole, in response to McGovern, said President Obama contributed to the border crisis by unilaterally changing immigration law, and creating the impression among foreigners that if they can only reach the U.S., they can stay.

Cole said Congress must put a stop to the flow of illegal immigrants for three reasons: "We've been told very clearly by the leaders of those countries we would like our children back. Number two, if we don't stop this process, we're going to continue to enrich cartels to an extraordinary degree..."

Cole also said the flow must stop for the safety of the children who embark on such a "perilous" journey.

"I think everybody on both sides of the aisle cares about these children," Cole added later.

In a political stunt, dozens of Democrats interrupted the debate-only session, lining up one after another to "ask unanimous consent" to bring a Senate-passed immigration reform bill to the House floor to "properly address the humanitarian crisis at the border."

Republican Tom Cole repeatedly refused to yield for that purpose, but the spectacle went on and on. House Speaker John Boeher has emphatically announced that said he will not bring the Senate bill up for a vote.