Both Missouri’s U.S. Senators are critical of the current policy of separating children from parents who seek asylum at the southern U.S. border.
In a statement Monday, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill attacked what she called the notion that children must be “ripped from their families” to secure the border as equally false and cruel. She said she’d be working from her position as Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee to stop the Trump Administration’s policy.
Missouri’s Republican Senator Roy Blunt linked himself to spouses of GOP Presidents, saying he agreed with Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Trump, that separating families does not “meet the standard of who we are as a country”.
Former first lady, Laura Bush wrote an opinion column in the Washington Post Monday, noting the Department of Homeland Security has sent nearly 2,000 children to mass detention centers in a six-week period from mid-April to the end of May. Bush wrote that the policy is “eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history.’’
McCaskill’s most likely Republican opponent in her campaign for reelection in November, state Attorney General Josh Hawley, soft-pedaled his position on Trump’s policy.
“The whole immigration system is a disaster, and Claire McCaskill should answer for that: she’s been in D.C. for over a decade and she has shown zero leadership to secure the border, stop sanctuary cities, or protect American workers. Nobody wants to see children and parents separated, just like no one should want to see illegal drugs and gangs pouring across our border. But none of that will change until McCaskill and the D.C. crowd take some responsibility and build the wall and secure the border,” Hawley said in a statement to Missourinet.
President Trump Monday showed no sign of budging from his “zero tolerance” border policy, saying the U.S. wouldn’t become a “migrant camp” or “refugee holding facility”.
A number of prominent Republican lawmakers, including Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas have been vocally critical of the border policy.
Trump has blamed the policy on Democrats and said they are obstructionists and could end it by working to change the law. A law has been on the books since President George W. Bush’s administration that allows separation of parents and children but it has never been enforced except during the past two months under President Trump.
At times, the President has also indicated the practice could be ended if his priorities such as building a wall and beefing up border security were enacted.
At one point Monday, the President went as far as to suggest the zero tolerance policy was necessary because those trying to cross the border were possibly hardened criminals.
“They could be murderers and thieves and so much else,” Mr. Trump said. “We want a safe country, and it starts with the borders, and that’s the way it is.”
Trump is scheduled to meet House Republicans Tuesday evening to discuss two GOP immigration bills that are expected see action on the floor this week.
One is considered a conservative measure proposed by House Republican Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia while the other has been called a “compromise” plan crafted by Republican centrists and GOP leadership.
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