Congressman Bruce Poliquin Credit: Gabor Degre

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican who represents Maine’s 2nd District, said when confronted by an advocate who recorded her confrontation with him, that immigrant children should “stay with their parents.”

Pulled into the ongoing controversy about President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance policy of immigrants crossing the border, Poliquin made the impromptu comments when confronted by a Maine woman, identified as Marcella Makinen, at an airport.

As Poliquin tried to walk away, she recorded the exchange on video, which was then shared Tuesday on Facebook by the advocacy group Mainers for Accountable Leadership.

Congressman Bruce Poliquin tries to run away from a Mainer while being asked what he is going to do to stop separating children from their parents. He says he doesn’t want to separate children from their families. Let’s hold him to it. Thank you to Marcella Makinen for your persistence.

Posted by Mainers for Accountable Leadership on Tuesday, 19 June 2018

“I wanted to ask you —” starts Makinen.

“When you put a camera in someone’s nose, that’s not a way to say hello,” Poliquin says. “If you want to say it, tell me what your issue is.”

Makinen: “I’m really concerned about the children that are being separated from their parents -”

Poliquin: “Yeah, so am I. So am I.”

Makinen: “And I wondered if you have any plans with talking with [Attorney General] Sessions.”

Poliquin: “We’re talking tonight at 5:30 on it.”

Makinen: “Really, and what’s your position on it?”

Poliquin: “We want to make sure that kids stay with their parents. I’m a father. The kids stay with their parents. You can turn that off. You don’t have to put that in my face. That’s very rude. That’s very rude.”

Poliquin was traveling and could not immediately be reached for comment. Sunday he released a statement say he was reviewing the issue.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.