Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) accused Republicans on Thursday of spreading "outright lies and exaggerations" during the current border crisis, particularly statements that unaccompanied minors from Central America might be bringing Ebola into the U.S.
"The violence is rampant there and little children, toddlers, show up at our borders fleeing as refugees from those countries, and they say they're bringing disease," the outspoken congressman said of GOP members on Ora.tv’s "Politicking" with Larry King. "They say that they're infesting our country with diseases that are incurable. Those are outright lies and exaggerations. That's pretty mean, Larry, when you treat children like that."
Two Republican House members have said that children and teenagers who crossed the border illegally in recent months could have Ebola. An outbreak of the disease has killed nearly 900 people in the African nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria -- more than 10,000 miles away from the Central American countries most minors are leaving to come to the United States.
In his interview with King, Gutierrez also had harsh words for House Republicans who have blocked comprehensive immigration reform.
"Last June, the Senate -- 68 to 32 with ample Republican support, very bipartisan bill -- passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Why can't the House of Representatives do it?" Gutierrez asked. "They can't do it because they have 20, 25 members who say, 'Let's just be mean. Let's be as mean and as nasty as we can with immigrants.'"