Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a contender for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president, said Sunday she would not use the detention system for immigrants to the United States if elected president.
“As president of the United States, I wouldn’t use the detention system at all,” Gillibrand told host Margaret Brennan on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
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“They don’t need to be incarcerated,” the New York Democrat continued, when pushed by Brennan. “If they are given a lawyer and given a process, they will follow it. They can go into the community in the way we used to handle these cases under the Department of Justice.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection in a statement Saturday said the agency currently has 16,000 migrants in custody and called the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border a “humanitarian and an operational crisis.”
Gillibrand criticized the Trump administration’s immigration policy, particularly citing the “zero tolerance” policy that led to the separation of migrant children from their parents at the southern border.
“Trump’s immigration policy is inhumane, ineffective and wrong,” Gillibrand said.
“What I would do is actually fund the border security measures that are anti-terrorism, anti-human trafficking, anti-drug trafficking and anti-gun trafficking,” she continued. “And I would defund these for-profit prison systems that are harming children and harming families that are seeking asylum.”
The New York senator also said her home state “would be delighted” to take in refugee families.