Heating up the campaign to replace retiring Rep. Ed Royce, R-Brea, Democratic candidate Gil Cisneros this week accused his Republican opponent, Young Kim, of failing to condemn the separation of families at the Mexican border, but Kim’s campaign said she has criticized the policy as contrary to U.S. values.
Cisneros, a retired Navy officer and outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, pointed to a comment Kim made in an interview with Bloomberg. According to the article, Kim said that while she was troubled by the way children were taken away from parents at the border, she did not want to politicize the issue.
“If you ask me personally what happens at the border, it worries me, it concerns me,” Kim said, according to the Bloomberg article published Wednesday. “I don’t want to see a crying child, but what’s the real story behind it?”
Cisneros told City News Service he was “kind of appalled by her comment.”
“She needs to just watch the news and get a real sense of what the story is,” he said.
“I don’t know what her thoughts are and why she said that,” Cisneros said. “You’d have to ask her that, but if she’s watching Fox News like the president then maybe that’s where she gets all of her news and information — they’re downplaying the situation.”
A spokesman for Kim, a top assistant to Royce, did not respond directly to Cisneros’ comment, but pointed to a statement Kim made when Trump signed an executive order that he said was aimed at halting family separations of illegal-immigrant families at the border.
“It breaks my heart to see families separated and I am relieved that an executive order stopping the policy of family separation was issued,” Kim said in the statement. “We should have never ended up at this point, but now Congress must pass legislation to stop this from happening in the future.”
Kim added that she wants to “enforce our laws, secure our borders and encourage legal immigration to this country. However, while doing this we must make sure that our laws are enforced in a humane way that upholds the values that so many come to this country to pursue. The policy of separating families that cross the border illegally does not live up to these values. We must work to preserve family unity and keep children safe throughout our immigration system.”
Kim, who emigrated to the United States from South Korea, said immigration issues “have persisted because of the broken politics of Washington. Politicians would rather demonize their political opponents than address the problems we face. This must stop and as your representative I will work to bridge the partisan divide and deliver results that matter to the people of this district.”
Cisneros said Trump officials had the prosecutorial discretion to not separate children from their families while enforcing the law. He said U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others in the administration have publicly stated the separation of children from their parents was meant to serve as a deterrent to illegal immigration.
“The president seems to have an M.O. of creating problems where none existed,” Cisneros said. “He did the same thing with DACA. He didn’t need to get rid of DACA and created a situation where he put people in a harmful situation that they didn’t need to be in.”
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