Heated House hearing over deaths of 5 immigrant children

Heated House hearing over deaths of 5 immigrant children
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan arrives for an immigration speech by President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden at the White House, Thursday, May 16, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Democratic lawmaker is blaming the Trump administration for the deaths of five immigrant children in U.S. custody — an assertion that’s led to a heated argument at a congressional hearing.

Republicans are denouncing the comment by Lauren Underwood, an Illinois congresswoman. She’s told the Homeland Security Department’s acting head that “at this point, with five children dead and thousands separated, it’s a policy choice being made by this administration and it’s inhumane.”

Kevin McAleenan says that accusation is appalling, and Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee have argued successfully to remove the comment from the hearing record.

A 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who’d been in U.S. custody for six days died Monday. He’s the fifth minor from Guatemala to die since December after being apprehended by U.S. border agents.