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Politics

Poliquin Says Immigrant Children Should 'Stay With Their Parents'

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CQ Roll Call file photo

Updated 4:17 p.m.

Republican Maine Congressperson Bruce Poliquin says immigrant children should "stay with their parents."

Weighing into the ongoing controversy about the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy of immigrants crossing the border, Poliquin made the impromptu comments when confronted by a Maine woman, identified as Marcella Makinen, at an airport. As Poliquin tried to walk away, she recorded the exchange on video which was then shared on Facebook Tuesday by the advocacy group Mainers for Accountable Leadership.

"I wanted to ask you -" starts Makinen.

"When you put a camera in someone's nose, that's not a way to say hello,” Poliquin says. “If you want to say it, tell me what your issue is."

Makinen: "I'm really concerned about the children that are being separated from their parents -"

Poliquin: "Yeah, so am I. So am I."

Makinen: "And I wondered if you have any plans with talking with [Attorney General] Sessions."

Poliquin: "We're talking tonight at 5:30 on it."

Makinen: "Really, and what's your position on it?"

Poliquin: "We want to make sure that kids stay with their parents. I'm a father. The kids stay with their parents. You can turn that off. You don't have to put that in my face. That's very rude. That's very rude."

Reached by telephone Tuesday afternoon, Poliquin says he is looking at a couple of potential bills that he hopes will be finalized and include language to address separation of immigrant families at the border.  He said he's looking at all options to solve what he calls "a complicated problem."

Poliquin declined to address the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy on immigrants crossing the border. Instead, he said, some parents put their kids in harm's way by bringing their kids into the county illegally. "I would never do that," he said.