United States Senator Lamar Alexander Tuesday released the following statement on the separation of children from their parents at the border:
“Illegal immigration is against the law but new enforcement policies have resulted in hundreds of children being separated from their parents. The administration should end that new policy immediately while Congress works with the president on a bipartisan immigration solution that secures the border, provides a status for those already here and prevents a humanitarian crisis at the border.”
Senator Bob Corker joined 12 of his Senate colleagues in sending a letter to U.S.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions "calling for a halt to the practice of separating families who have illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border." The letter petitions the administration to stop enforcement of this policy "until Congress can pass legislation to keep families together."
The letter, which was led by Senator Orin Hatch (R-Utah), was signed by Senators Corker and Alexander and Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
The letter says:
Dear Mr. Attorney General:
Like millions of Americans, we have read with increasing alarm reports of children being separated from their parents at the southern border. Although enforcing our immigration laws is an essential responsibility of the federal government, it must be done in a way that is consistent with our values and ordinary human decency.
The current family separation crisis has multiple contributing causes, including court decisions that require release rather than detention of children but not parents who enter our country illegally. But the immediate cause of the crisis is your Department’s recent institution of a “zero tolerance” policy under which all adults who enter the United States illegally are referred for prosecution, regardless of whether such individuals are claiming asylum and regardless of whether they are accompanied by minor children.
We support the administration’s efforts to enforce our immigration laws, but we cannot support implementation of a policy that results in the categorical forced separation of minor children from their parents. We therefore ask you to halt implementation of the Department’s zero tolerance policy while Congress works out a solution that enables faster processing of individuals who enter our country illegally without requiring the forced, inhumane separation of children from their parents. We believe a reasonable path forward can be found that accommodates the need to enforce our laws while holding true to other, equally essential values.