Sen. Dianne Feinstein: ‘I Didn’t Really Know’ How Obama Administration Treated Illegal Children

By Melanie Arter | June 11, 2018 | 4:29pm EDT
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) (Screenshot)

( - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that the reason why she wasn’t as outspoken about the treatment of illegal children during the Obama administration as she has been during the Trump administration was because she didn’t know enough about it.

Feinstein introduced a bill last week to stop the separation of illegal immigrant children and their parents as they cross the U.S. border.

“A lot of Democrats are expressing outrage about how Trump is treating undocumented immigrants. We saw this photo making the rounds on social media, Los Angeles Mayor, former Mayor Villaraigosa tweeted it out. It is actually from -- it is undocumented children in a holding cell, but it is actually from 2014, when President Obama was president,” CNN’s Jake Tapper said.

“There were a lot of things done to undocumented immigrants that the immigration -- the immigrant community was very upset about during the Obama years that Democrats didn't seem as outspoken about. What do you say to people who say, where was all this activism during the Obama years?” Tapper asked.

“I don't believe that it was nearly to the extent that it is today. And, candidly, I didn't really know enough about it at that time to focus on it. I do know enough about it now. We have had a hearing in the Judiciary Committee. We did have testimony,” Feinstein said.

“I know that at least 50 children a day are taken from their parents, and the thing is, they are taken, and no one knows what happens to them. Their parents don't know how to find them, and you have now the first person, one of the fathers, that died in jail. And I find it just inhumane, callous, and something I never thought my country would do,” she said.

“So, it is very worrisome, and we have got to stop it, and so we have written a bill. We have 31 co-sponsors. I hope we will be able to get it out of the Judiciary Committee. It has been introduced, and it would prohibit the taking of children in this manner, and then it would provide a number of criteria to remove a child, what you would have to have present,” Feinstein said.


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