A day after President Trump ended a controversial policy of separating families who crossed the southern border illegally, the larger debate over immigration rages on.
But a Republican congressman and a Democratic senator agree that the separation policy had to end.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) says the Trump administration badly miscalculated.
“What they found is that America has a moral gag reflex, and they definitely hit it with this family separation policy, which was very, very heartless.”
Since early April, the government has separated more than 2,000 children from their families at the border. The president ended the policy yesterday, which Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Virginia Beach) says was the right thing to do.
“Now, that being said, that doesn’t allow for you to come with your kid to the border, and automatically come into our country because of course that’s against our laws.”
But Kaine says several questions remain. Families will now stay together – but how long will they be detained? Where? What process determines whether they can legally enter the US?
“And then the question of most urgency — what is the administration going to do to reunite these 2,400 children with their parents?”
Kaine says the initial response from the Department of Health and Human Services was not encouraging. “Their word was that was going to be the parents’ responsibility. They didn’t seem to take any ownership.”
Kaine and Taylor are both calling for more transparency, after Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida) was denied access to a detention facility this week near Miami.
“By all means we should be able to have access to these sites as members of Congress and exercising our duties of oversight,” Taylor said.
Kaine agrees. “This is one of the things that we have to insist on.”
The House was working on comprehensive immigration reform this afternoon — and then postponed a vote until tomorrow.