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Arizona Rep. Schweikert would rather see families at border stay together

(U.S. Customs and Border Protection Photo via AP)

PHOENIX — When President Donald Trump meets with House Republicans on Tuesday to discuss immigration legislation, U.S. Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona will be in the room.

The “zero tolerance” policy in place for illegal border crossings from Mexico into America that has separated crying children from their parents has drawn strong criticism. Politicians from both sides have called the enforcement “cruel and tragic,” and “ugly and inhumane.”

Schweikert witnessed similar scenes at the border in Nogales, Arizona — children of families seeking asylum crying hysterically.

“It always eats at your heart … We can fix that,” Schweikert said Tuesday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

“I can’t see ever breaking up a family unit,” he said.

Trump’s meeting late Tuesday afternoon with House Republicans comes as lawmakers in both parties have become more vocal over the administration’s “zero tolerance” approach to illegal border crossings.

They’ll go over two bills, one of them from Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia that would keep families together. Conservatives prefer this bill over the moderates’ compromise measure.

“I’m more comfortable with Goodlatte’s — it’s much more detailed,” Schweikert said.

Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May.

“I believe the policy needs to be changed,” Schweikert said. “But we need to immediately follow that change, hopefully, with solutions that don’t continue this encouragement to send your children north or to tear apart a family in other parts of the world.

“Because as long as there was this perception around the world that if you could get across the border, you would get processed and you could disappear into the U.S. society. … And eventually you would be given a reprieve.

“We’ve got to be careful that we’re not actually creating our own crisis.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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