Bennet, Gardner call for end separation of families at the border

Posted at 3:40 PM, Jun 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-19 17:40:11-04

Colorado’s senators denounced the Trump administration’s "no tolerance" illegal immigration policy that caused migrant families to be separated along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Both Republican Cory Gardner and Democrat Michael Bennet have both called for the Trump administration to end its "no tolerance" policy.

Sen. Gardner released a letter he and 11 other Republican senators sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions Tuesday.

That letter read in part, "The immediate cause of the crisis is your Department’s recent institution of a “zero tolerance” policy under which all adults who enter the United States illegally are referred for prosecution, regardless of whether such individuals are claiming asylum and regardless of whether they are accompanied by minor children."

Senators Orin Hatch (R-UT), John McCain (R-AZ), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Bob Corker (R-TN), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Dean Heller (R-NV), James Lankford (R-OK), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) also signed on to the letter.

Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet released a statement of his own Monday, which criticized the Trump administration’s handling of immigration.

“Their separation policy undermines our most sacred values as Americans, fails to keep our country safer, and causes unnecessary trauma for thousands of children and families. Every member of Congress must stand up for these children by demanding that the administration end its policy now.”

Bennet also added that he and another 39 senators sent a letter of their own demanding President Trump end the separation policy.

The President has insisted that he cannot stop the separation of families alone, and that it will require a solution from Congress.

On Tuesday, the President said he had a "great meeting" with House Republicans Tuesday afternoon and signaled support for two immigration bills being considered in Congress.

The Associated Press reports Trump said,  "I am behind you so much. We need the wall." during the closed door meeting.

The AP also reports that a White House Official told them that Trump would also consider a stand-alone bill to prevent more children being separated from their families at the border.

The position appears to be a departure from Monday, when White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to voice support for a narrower fix, saying: "We want to fix the entire system. We don’t want to just tinker with it."

However, Republican Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander said a legislative fix is not needed to stop the policy, and that it’s President Trump’s decision to continue or stop it.

Alexander also said he wants to vote on a bill to secure the border and create a status for illegal immigrants already in the United States.