Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday slammed U.S. Rep. John Katko for the central New York Republican's support of a compromise proposal to resolve outstanding immigration issues, including funds for a border wall and protections for children who were brought to the U.S. illegally.
Cuomo, a Democrat, released a statement hours after Katko, R-Camillus, commented on the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border. Families have been separated by authorities due to a new federal government policy that seeks to deter immigrants from crossing the border. The Department of Justice wants to prosecute adults who illegally enter the U.S.
If an adult brings a child with them, the child is separated from the adult and held a separate facility.
Members of both parties have criticized the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy. But a compromise bill drafted by Katko and other House Republicans wouldn't end family separations. It would, however, address other immigration-related issues, such as protections for individuals who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
On Monday, Katko urged the Trump administration to keep the borders secure "in a humane way that preserves family unity and keeps young children safe." He also highlighted his work on the compromise immigration proposal.
"I'm hopeful that we can pass this measure through the House this week," he said.
But Cuomo, who has been critical of Katko's vote for the tax overhaul last year, lambasted the Syracuse-area Republican.
"While Katko pays lip service against the moral atrocity on our border, he is leading the charge to pass an extreme immigration bill that does nothing to stop it," the governor said in a statement. "His anti-immigrant immigration bill is an attack on our communities and our American values, and it doesn't touch the policy this administration is using to force parents and children apart."
He added, "If Katko really cared for the children being separated from their parents by this administration, then he would show some backbone and stop his overlords in the White House from tearing families apart."
Erin O'Connor, a spokesperson for Katko, responded to Cuomo's statement: "Rep. Katko is leading constructive efforts in Congress to tackle immigration reform. As a former prosecutor with experience on the southern border, he appreciates the input of the governor, who seems eager to change the subject with the start of this week's corruption trial in the Southern District of New York."
Cuomo's statement comes one day before Vice President Mike Pence will visit central New York to headline a fundraiser for Katko and tour Nucor Steel in Auburn.