Bipartisan push to end separations


Washington, June 19: Leading figures of both parties demanded on Sunday that President Trump halt his administration’s practice of separating children from their parents when apprehended at the border, as the issue further polarised the already divisive immigration debate in Washington.
Republican lawmakers, the former First Lady Laura Bush, a conservative newspaper and a one-time adviser to Trump joined Democrats in condemning family separations that have removed nearly 2,000 children from their parents in just 6 weeks. The administration argued that it was just enforcing the law, a false assertion that Trump has made repeatedly.
The issue took on special resonance on Father’s Day as Democratic lawmakers visited detention facilities in Texas and New Jersey to protest the separations and the House prepared to take up immigration legislation this week. Pictures of children warehoused without their parents in facilities, including a converted Walmart store, have inflamed passions and put the administration on the defensive.
Trump did not directly address the family separations on Sunday, saying only that Democrats should work with Republicans on border security legislation. “Don’t wait until after the election because you are going to lose!” he wrote on Twitter.
Melania Trump. In a statement, the US First Lady said: “We need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with a heart.”
But Melania Trump weighed in, saying she “hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together”. Melania Trump “believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with a heart,” the First Lady’s office said.
By laying responsibility for the situation on “both sides,” Melania Trump effectively echoed her husband’s assertion that it was the result of a law written by Democrats. In fact, the administration announced a “zero tolerance” approach this spring, leading to the separations.
Laura Bush, the last Republican First Lady, spoke out forcefully against the practice on Sunday in a rare foray into domestic politics, comparing it to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. “I live in a border state,” she wrote in a guest column in The Washington Post.
“I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.” She attributed the situation entirely to the administration. “The reason for these separations is a zero tolerance policy for their parents,” she wrote.
Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, deplored separations on Sunday, except in cases where there is evidence of abuse or another good reason. “What the administration has decided to do is to separate children from their parents to try to send a message that, if you cross the border with children, your children are going to be ripped away from you,” she said.