Blankenbeker on Trump's Separation Policy: Parents Crossing Border 'Victimized' Their Kids

Aug 10, 2018

Lynne Blankenbeker, a Republican in the 2nd Congressional District, speaks with The Exchange on Aug. 10, 2018.
Credit Christina Phillips / NHPR

Congressional candidate Lynne Blankenbeker defended the Trump administration's family separation policy Friday by saying the parents entering the country illegally bear the blame.

Blankenbeker, a Republican running in New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District, said on NHPR's The Exchange she feels for the children, but that the parents must be held accountable.

"Those families that came across the border illegally knew what they were getting into and I don't hear any public outcry against the families that have victimized those children," she said. "Where's the accountability on the folks who knowingly ..."

Host Peter Biello asked, "Wait, who victimized the children?"

"Their parents."

Biello followed up. "The parents victimized the children?"

Blankenbeker replied: “When you knowingly come across the border illegally, knowing that there’s an opportunity that you can be separated from your children, yes, those parents have some accountability. They needed to come across the border legally or … they needed to, you know ... there has to be some accountability. Don’t keep coming back and attacking the, you know, the government for enforcing laws that we’ve had on the books for decades.”

More than 2,000 children were separated at some point from their parents in the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy that refers all border crossings for federal criminal prosecution. The Washington Post reports that 1,992 children have been reunited or released, but that 559 remain separated, as of Aug. 10.

On The Exchange, Blankenbeker voiced support for President Trump's wall to be constructed along the Mexican border. She said it would thwart gangs and help block drugs from entering the country.

Blankenbeker, a veteran and former state representative from Concord, said in the candidate interview that she is against the Affordable Care Act, wants more accountability and transparency at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and supports the Republican tax cuts as a way to bolster the economy. She dismissed reports that the tax cuts are contributing to the deficit.