So much for “hating” separating children from their parents and incarcerating them in detention facilities at our southern border.
Friday, Donald Trump tried blaming Democrats for the inhumane anti-immigration practice that has separated 1,995 children from 1,940 parents at southern border crossings in just the six weeks between April 19 and May 31.
Today, though, the president is doubling down.
During remarks in the White House East Room, Trump announced the United States will not be a “migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility.”
“You look at what’s happening in Europe, you look at what’s happening in other places, we can’t allow that to happen to the United States – not on my watch.”
Republican lawmakers and conservative faith leaders joined Democrats this weekend in condemning the practice.
One lawmaker speaking out is Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who stated the road the United States is going down is “contrary to our values in this country,” and “traumatizing” to the children against whom we are inflicting this punishment.
Even former first lady Laura Bush contributed to condemnation in a Washington Post op-ed, in which she wrote:
“I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”
Former President Bill Clinton tweeted:
“These children should not be a negotiating tool. And reuniting them with their families would reaffirm America’s belief in & support for all parents who love their children.”
One day after several congressional lawmakers chose Fathers’ Day to tour the McAllen, Texas detention facility, where, according to estimates, around 1,100 undocumented individuals are being held, including almost 200 unaccompanied minors, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced all 49 Senate Democrats have co-sponsored S. 3036, the “Keep Families Together Act,” to limit family separations.
“The entire Democratic caucus supports our bill to bar children from being taken from their parents at the border. I’ve heard countless Republicans say that they oppose children being taken from their parents. If that’s true, they should support our bill NOW!”
Republicans have their own proposal, but experts say it does not go far enough.
Seen as a potential compromise between moderate and conservative Republicans, it seeks to make it easier for children to be detained, more difficult for families to claim asylum, and includes Trump’s campaign promise for a southern border wall. It also would impose restrictions on legal immigration in exchange for legal protections for young undocumented immigrants, aka “Dreamers”, covered under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Senate Democratic Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, of New York, said Monday about the Republicans’ plan:
“It holds Dreamers and kids who have been separated from their parents hostage in order to cut legal immigration and enact the hard right’s immigration agenda. If the House moderates really want to get something done on immigration, they should not be duped by their leadership for a bill that they know isn’t going anywhere.”
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