CBS News host Gayle King said Monday that the Statue of Liberty is "weeping right now" while reporting on the Trump administration's treatment of illegal immigrants at the U.S. southern border.
King arrived at the border in Texas on Sunday, and first visited a border patrol facility in McAllen, where several children were detained. She reported on her experience on "CBS This Morning."
"We went straight to the location where kids and their parents were reunited," King said. "All I can say after talking to the people, watching the people, listening to the people, the Statue of Liberty, I think, is weeping right now," King said.
King's report came amid a fiery debate in the U.S. over the Trump administration's immigration policy, especially its practice of separating immigrant children from their families when they are apprehended for crossing the border illegally.
The administration has implemented a zero-tolerance policy toward illegal border crossings, charging all individuals who cross the border illegally with unlawful entry. People who claim to seek asylum are also charged with unlawful entry and are taken into custody until their case is processed. Federal law prevents kids from being held in the same detention facility as those charged with unlawful entry, causing border patrol agents to separate children from their families.
"It's unbelievable, the stories that we've heard," King said. "We're standing in front of a converted warehouse. This is the first stop for many undocumented families caught at the southern border. It's where federal officials are trying to weed out criminals. An executive officer at the center told us a 55,000-square-foot facility can hold up to 1,500 people."
"This is a very nondescript building," King continued. "It's not marked. Yesterday, more than 1,000 people were being processed here. That includes more than 500 families and 197 unaccompanied children."
President Donald Trump last week accused Democrats of not wanting to change the current law that leads to separated families, saying Republicans would be willing to negotiate with them. He also said that Democrats are "afraid of security for our country" and of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
This is not the first time that a reporter has used the Statue of Liberty to criticize the Trump administration's immigration policy. Last August, CNN reporter Jim Acosta quoted the the poem The New Colossus, which was inscribed on the statue after its erection, while sparring with White House policy adviser Stephen Miller.