AP NEWS

Kamala Harris complains over toys being taken from illegal immigrants

March 6, 2019

Sen. Kamala Harris blasted the Border Patrol Wednesday for taking toys away from illegal immigrant children who jump the border, saying she feared they were losing their access to mental stimulation.

The California Democrat and presidential candidate was grilling Kevin K. McAleenan, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, over the treatment of the children when they arrive at the border, either with families or alone.

She said her staff had visited one Border Patrol station in California earlier this year and they were surprised to see agents taking toys away from children once they were processed and brought into custody.

“When the children are in custody at the station they have no access to toys, books or any other means of mental stimulation,” she said, then demanded, “Is it the policy of every station then to remove toys and books and other toys from the children when they arrive?”

Mr. McAleenan said they do have a policy to check out the toys, saying they have an obligation to the child’s safety.

“It’s got to be safe. That’s the primary consideration,” he said.

Ms. Harris then demanded that he tell her what toys were too dangerous to leave with the children.

He told her to look at the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s lists, which flags many toys that he said are considered acceptable in other countries.

“It depends on the toys,” he said.

The toy exchange came during a hearing where Mr. McAleenan described a humanitarian crisis on the border with children being brought to the country by smuggling organizations.

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