On Friday, Congressman Peter King (R-NY) attempted to diminish criticism against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by saying “only two children” have died this month while in the custody of border patrol and praised their “excellent record.”
In an interview with Fox News’ Julie Banderas, King called the deaths of two Guatemalan youths who died in Federal custody “tragic,” before attempting to shift blame away from the agency by saying that children also die in the “terrible conditions” of government housing in his own state.
“I know in New York City in housing projects you hear of kids dying, unfortunately that can happen when people are living in those conditions,” King told Fox News’ Julia Banderas. “I applaud [Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen] for going to see if there’s anything more that can be done but I think it’s wrong to be piling on here and somehow blaming ICE.”
“They’ve had hundreds of thousands of people that they had custody of over the years and I think these are the only two children that have died in recent memory,” he continued. “So, considering all of that and what happens in housing projects across the country, I think ICE has an excellent record and I’d be reluctant to be doing any piling on here right now to make political points with this.”
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) December 28, 2018
DHS officials have said the deaths of the two migrant children were “tragic” but also “rare.” They note that the deaths were the first in more than a decade.
Nielsen said six people have died while in Border Patrol custody during Fiscal Year 2018, which ended in September, but that none were children.