Donald Trump Defends Family Separations Amid Republican Backlash
Despite public outcry and mounting political pressure, President Donald Trump has remained firm with his zero-tolerance immigration policy.
In April of 2018, the Trump administration announced it would be enforcing the criminal prosecution of all illegal immigrants. Since only the parents receive these charges, they are detained while the children are taken into the custody of a sponsor or held in a shelter. Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May according to the administration.
The new policy has received increasing criticism from Republican party members for separating families and supposedly using the children as a “negotiating tool” and deterrent to other families from migrating. On Tuesday, Republican Sen. John McCain labelled the policy “an affront to the decency of the American people, and contrary to principles and values upon which our nation was founded.” Republican Sen. Susan Collins also voiced her opposition.
(3/3) Second, and much more important, it is inconsistent with our American values to separate these children from their parents unless there is evidence of abuse or another very good reason. We need to fix our immigration laws, but using children is not the answer.
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) June 17, 2018
Meanwhile, the office of Melania Trump released a statement noting that the first lady “hates to see children separated from their families” and hopes a solution can be reached.
In response to the mounting backlash, Trump has attempted to shrug off the responsibility, falsely claiming he is simply enforcing the laws already put in place by Democrats.
It is the Democrats fault for being weak and ineffective with Boarder Security and Crime. Tell them to start thinking about the people devastated by Crime coming from illegal immigration. Change the laws!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Sessions also defended the hard-line policy Monday morning, claiming that if Congress had passed Trump’s immigration reform policies, including building the wall, they would not have to take such action.
“We do not want to separate parents from their children,” Sessions said. “If we build the wall, if we pass legislation to end the lawlessness, we won’t face these terrible choices.”
Critics, including former Republican Florida Governor Jeb Bush, argue that Trump’s current policy is being used as a bargaining chip to garner Congressional support to fund the border wall.
Children shouldn’t be used as a negotiating tool. @realDonaldTrump should end this heartless policy and Congress should get an immigration deal done that provides for asylum reform, border security and a path to citizenship for Dreamers. https://t.co/OOjv0vNeVg
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) June 18, 2018