A top White House adviser today distanced the Trump administration from responsibility for separating migrant children from their parents at the US-Mexico border, even though the administration put in place and could easily end a policy that has led to a spike in cases of split and distraught families.
President Donald Trump has tried to blame Democrats, who hold no levers of power in the government today, for a situation that has sparked fury and a national debate over the moral implications of his hard-line approach to immigration enforcement.
“Nobody likes” breaking up families and “seeing babies ripped from their mothers’ arms,” said Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to the president.
Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new “zero-
tolerance” policy that refers all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution. US protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents because the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are.
The administration wants to send a message, said a Republican critic of the policy, “that if you cross the border with children, your children are going to be ripped away from you.
That’s traumatizing to the children who are innocent victims, and it is contrary to our values in this country.” Maine Sen. Susan Collins added that “we know from years of experience that we need to fix our immigration laws and that using children is not the answer.” Trump plans to meet with House Republicans on Tuesday to discuss pending immigration legislation amid an election-season debate over an issue that helped vault the New York real estate mogul into the Oval Office in 2016. The House is expected to vote this week on a bill pushed by conservatives that may not have enough support to pass, and a compromise measure that the White House has endorsed.