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McCain calls on Trump administration to reverse family separation policy

In this photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, sit in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas, Sunday, June 17, 2018. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP)

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. John McCain called on the Trump administration to reverse its policy of separating families at the border in a statement Monday.

“The administration’s current family separation policy is an affront to the decency of the American people, and contrary to principles and values upon which our nation was founded,” the senator said in a tweet.

“The administration has the power to rescind this policy. It should do so now.”

The statement is the first the Arizona senator has made regarding a “zero tolerance” policy enforced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions when it comes to prosecuting those arrested for illegally entering the country.

Nearly 2,000 children have been taken from their parents over a six-week period in April and May in response to the policy.

U.S. Reps. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) also called on the Trump administration to stop the policy.

The policy change was meant to deter unlawful crossings — and Sessions issued a warning last month to those entering the U.S. illegally that their children “inevitably for a period of time might be in different conditions.”

Prior procedure had limited prosecution for many family entrants, in part because regulations prohibit detaining children with their parents since the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are.

Hundreds of children held in metal cages in Texas facility

The current holding areas have drawn widespread attention after journalists gained access to one site Sunday.

At a McAllen, Texas, detention center hundreds of immigrant children wait in a series of cages created by metal fencing.

One cage had 20 children inside.

Scattered about are bottles of water, bags of chips and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets.

The policy has divided Republicans.

President Donald Trump emphatically defended his administration’s policy Monday, again falsely blaming Democrats.

“The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility,” he declared. “Not on my watch.”

Former first lady Laura Bush saying in a guest column in Sunday’s Washington Post that the practice of separating immigrant parents and children along the nation’s southern border is “cruel” and “immoral” and “breaks my heart.” Bush likened the policy to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) tweeted Monday that the Obama administration’s “lack of enforcement of our immigration laws is responsible for this crisis” and said the policy “returns to the rule of law and ensures families are no longer lured to our borders with false promises.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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