US lawmakers, First Lady call for end to migrant family separations

Democratic and Republican lawmakers upped the ante Sunday on the thorny issue of the separation of migrant children from their parents at the US border, as First Lady Melania Trump made a rare political plea to end the deeply controversial practice.

The “zero-tolerance” border security policy implemented by President Donald Trump’s administration has sparked outrage on both sides of the political aisle and took on particular resonance as America celebrated Father’s Day.

Trump has said he wants the separations to end, but continues to blame opposition Democrats for the crisis, which critics say is one of his own making.

The First Lady, who does not often wade into the political arena, did not denounce his administration’s policy, but instead called for bipartisan immigration reform to fix the issue.

“Mrs Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform,” her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told CNN.

“She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.”

Immigration is one of the most divisive, hot-button crises plaguing the Trump administration.

During one recent six-week period, the government said nearly 2 000 minors were separated from their parents or adult guardians — a figure that only stoked the firestorm.

The number of separations has jumped since early May, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that all migrants illegally crossing the US border with Mexico would be arrested, regardless of whether the adults were seeking asylum.

Since children cannot be sent to the facilities where their parents are held, they are separated.


Some of Trump’s fellow Republicans have said the policy must end.

“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,” Senator Susan Collins told CBS television’s “Face the Nation” news program.

“That’s traumatizing to the children who are innocent victims, and it is contrary to our values in this country.”

Amid deep divisions, congressional Republicans have struggled to craft a viable immigration plan.

The Republican-led House of Representatives may vote this week on two immigration measures — a hardline Bill and a compromise measure that would limit legal immigration while also ending family separations.

After touring a processing center in McAllen, Texas on Sunday, a group of Democratic lawmakers warned of the “irreparable harm” caused by the separations, repeating a phrase used by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“This new policy of the Trump administration… is undermining the founding values of this country,” said Representative David Cicilline.

“We saw the fear in the eyes of these children who are wondering when they will see their parent ever again. It’s a disgrace, it’s shameful and it’s unAmerican.”

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

ConCourt settles the law on the public protector and interim...

The Constitutional Court said it welcomed robust debate but criticised the populist rhetoric in the battle between Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Minister Pravin Gordhan

Small towns not ready for level 3

Officials in Beaufort West, which is on a route that links the Cape with the rest of the country, are worried relaxed lockdown regulations mean residents are now at risk of contracting Covid-19
Advertising

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday