ARIZONA NEWS

Where do Arizona politicians stand on Trump’s family separation policy?

Jun 20, 2018, 6:46 PM | Updated: Jun 21, 2018, 1:45 pm
Immigrants recently processes and released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection wait at the the Ca...

Immigrants recently processes and released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection wait at the the Catholic Charities RGV, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

PHOENIX — The majority of politicians in Arizona have voiced opposition to President Donald Trump’s policy of separating children from their parents when they are detained illegally after crossing the U.S. border.

The policy, which was reversed Wednesday after Trump signed an executive order halting it, has led to more than 2,300 minors being separated from their families at the border from May 5 through June 9, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Here is where Arizona politicians stand on the policy:


Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey

“I’ve been calling on Congress for some time to have some type of immigration reform,” Ducey told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona Morning News on Tuesday.

“I think everyone knows that I’m very supportive of border security. But it seems that this separation of families is unnecessary.”

U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)

“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 Monday.

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

McCain was also among the Republican Senators who called on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions Tuesday to stop the practice of separating families at the border.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)

“Ensuring the safety and security of young children is a longstanding priority of the American legal system. In asylum cases, it is especially important to keep families together when neither the child nor the parent has violated any laws,” Flake said in a statement Sunday.

“Contrary to what DHS has indicated as proper procedure, we are currently seeing cases where immigrant families seeking asylum are separated after lawfully presenting themselves at a U.S. port of entry. I believe DHS ought to respond to valid questions concerning asylum processing, including any policies pertaining to the separation of families.”

Flake was among the 26 Republican Senators who introduced a bill Wednesday in an effort to keep families together “while ensuring the integrity of our nation’s immigration laws.”

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)

“One of the biggest sampling polls…came back 95 percent that the American people want to have border security and trying to manipulate the system based upon the protocols we see at the border,” Gosar told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona Morning News on Wednesday.

“We got to follow the rule of law. We got to, we have to, we have to.”

U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.)

“No one wants to see what’s happening at the border continue, and I am working with my colleagues in Congress to resolve this issue with legislation,” Lesko said in a statement Tuesday.

“Both immigration bills expected to be considered by the House this week will end the separation of children from their parents at the border. I’m a cosponsor of one of these bills, the Securing America’s Future Act, because it secures our border, closes immigration loopholes, and solves the child separation policy. Unfortunately, Democrats are unwilling to come to the negotiating table and work towards a legislative solution.”

U.S. Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.)

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

“Personally, I can’t see ever breaking up a family unit. In our modern world…we can know where the parents are, and maybe the solution is we need to move to a much, much, much faster way of adjudicating.”

U.S. Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.)

“We need to enforce our laws in a consistent and humane manner and (Homeland Security) should not have to choose between enforcing the law and keeping children with their parents,” McSally said in a statement, according to The Arizona Republic.

U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.)

“We should enforce our immigration laws in a way that ensures that all aliens are treated as humanely as possible – especially innocent children. To this end, we must make sure that those seeking asylum are doing so legally and for legitimate purposes,” Biggs said in a statement Wednesday.

“I commend Congressman [Mark] Meadows for sponsoring this legislation that seeks to support President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to enforce our laws, while applying a necessary fix to an outdated law in order to keep families of aliens together at the border.”

U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.)

“America has long been a beacon of hope around the world for those fleeing persecution and violence. We are richer as a nation because of it. The current situation on the southern border, though, mars this image,” O’Halleran said in a statement Tuesday.

“When seeking asylum, no parent should ever have their child ripped from their arms with no indication they will be reunited again. There is no law that requires this. It is appalling that families seeking entry through legal channels are being torn apart, with parents being deported while their children sit alone in unknown facilities in U.S. custody.

“Our values as Arizonans and Americans transcend party and politics. While we must provide our border states and communities the tools they need to secure themselves, we must come together and insist there is a better way. I am working toward that in Congress.”

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

“I am proud of the individuals who stood up to this inhumane and un-American policy that forced Trump into attempting to remedy the horrific crisis that he, Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions, and Secretary [Kirstjen] Nielsen created. He finally admitted he was wrong, and as we know, that is no easy feat,” Grijalva said in a statement Wednesday.

“As I await the details of his executive order, the president must not turn one crisis into another by illegally incarcerating young children indefinitely.

“Trump’s zero-tolerance policy is pure pandering, and the trauma he caused for thousands of families and children will not easily fade from public view. I demand than he immediately begin the process of reuniting the families that he destroyed with his senseless policies, including those parents who have already been deported, and allow them to proceed with their legal right to seek asylum.”

U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.)

“Potentially it is a positive, the devil is in the details. One thing we have to be aware of is what happens with the next steps,” Gallego told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on Wednesday of Trump’s executive order.

“We’re not going to be child separation, which is a victory for all of America. I think it was a black eye and stain on our history when we did that, but if we’re moving to permanent family detention then now we’re kind of shifting to a bigger problem.”

U.S. Rep. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.)

“It’s wrong to separate families at the border, particularly moms and dads from little kids,” Sinema told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on June 15.

“I think all of us as Americans can say that is wrong to do. It was wrong when the Obama administration did it and it’s wrong now when the Trump administration has made it a formal policy and it should stop.”

Attorney General Mark Brnovich

“I don’t think you have to enforce immigration policy in a way that separates a 2-year-old from their mother. I think we’re a better country than that,” Brnovich told KTAR News 92.3 FM Wednesday.

“We can sit there and put a band-aid on this and figure out how to keep families together today, but the question is what are we going to do long term to address this problem?”

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone

“I don’t get why [the Trump administration thinks] that separating them will increase or enhance security on the border, unless it is just to intimidate families that we’re going to take your kids from you — which is really, I didn’t think that’s what we stood for as a nation,” Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac and Gaydos Tuesday.

“There are a lot of things we can do that we can justify to say they are deterrents, but is that really who we want to be, ethically or morally, as people?”

Former Gov. Jan Brewer

“I’m on record saying that something has to be resolved and certainly it was a heartbreaking thing to see,” Brewer told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac and Gaydos Wednesday.

“I think that everyone was concerned about the situation. There was such massive coverage and so many kids, it was breaking your heart.”

Former Gov. Janet Napolitano

“It’s such a misallocation and a misguided policy and it results in these families being separated,” Napolitano said in a recent episode of Politico’s Women Rule podcast.

“I don’t know how this could be justified, either legally or morally. The notion that you’re going to somehow create a deterrent to illegal immigration through this kind of policy — we’ve seen this before, and it just doesn’t work. And it’s cruel.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

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Where do Arizona politicians stand on Trump’s family separation policy?