Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) on Friday bashed Republicans for seeking to deport illegal immigrant children, and said that by pursuing this goal, they are acting if they hate all children.
"[I]t is almost as though they despite and hate all of our children," he told reporters in a press conference with his Democratic colleagues.
"Because even the children that came before them, that have pledged allegiance to the flag of the United States all of their lives, loved this country, and the president has afforded them an opportunity to become legal, they want to put them in an illegal situation."
Gutierrez has warned repeatedly that by failing to support a pathway to legal status for the country's illegal residents, Republicans are likely to continue losing national elections. He said the GOP failed to learn that lesson in 2012, and is on the way to a similar result in 2016.
"It's as though have amnesia and have forgotten and have abandoned that road," he said. "And they have taken the road of those who will be filled with spitefulness and hatred toward our community."
Republicans were working on Friday to pass a bill providing millions of dollars to fund operations at the southern U.S. border, and to ensure President Barack Obama cannot expand his policy of deferred deportation action. The GOP says Obama's effort to ease immigration rules is the main reason why thousands of children from Central America are flooding across the U.S. border.
Earlier Friday, two other Democrats accused Republicans of wanting to hurt children. Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.) said on the House floor that the Republican proposals are an attempt to "strip away the rights of a child to live."
"The Republicans want to indiscriminately return children to their death," he said.
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) said the GOP doesn't care about what happens to kids once they are returned home.
"They care about these children so much, that their proposal is to tell them to get out of here just as quick as they can, before they can present their claims that they were trafficked, or that they suffer a return to violence and murder and rape at home," Doggett said.