McCain, GOP senators call on Sessions to halt family separation practice

Jun 19, 2018, 4:55 PM | Updated: 4:57 pm
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)...
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was among the Republican Senators who called on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions Tuesday to stop the practice of separating families at the border.

McCain was included in a letter sent to Sessions by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

The letter called on Sessions and the Trump administration to stop the enforcement of a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to prosecuting those arrested for illegally entering the country until Congress can pass legislation to keep families together.

Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Dean Heller (R-Nevada), Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) were also included in the letter.

“Like millions of Americans, we have read with increasing alarm reports of children being separated from their parents at the southern border,” part of the letter read.

“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 senators claimed the current crisis has “multiple contributing causes,” including the “zero tolerance” policy and court decisions regarding children who enter the U.S. illegally.

“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,” they continued.

“We therefore ask you to work with the relevant administration officials to stop the separation of families pursuant to the department’s zero tolerance policy while Congress works out a solution that enables faster processing of individuals who enter our country illegally.”

This is not the first time McCain has called on the administration to stop the practice of separating children from their families: The Republican first did so in a Monday tweet.

“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.”

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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McCain, GOP senators call on Sessions to halt family separation practice