Gardner Urges AG Sessions to Halt Border Policy Leading to Children Being Separated from Families – Calls on Congress to Address Issue

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) joined 12 of his colleagues on Tuesday in sending a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling on the Administration to halt current policies leading to the forced separation of minor children from their parents, who are illegally entering the United States, and to allow Congress to fix the issue through legislation.

Senator Gardner has been a leader in the Senate on working to find a solution for Dreamers along with supporting several immigration reform proposals to address the broken immigration system. On Monday Senator Gardner pointed to our broken immigration system and the instances on the border where children are being separated from their parents as why it is urgent that Congress pass immigration reform. Gardner said that, “children should not be penalized for the actions of their parents and that is exactly what is happening right now.”

A PDF is available here.

Signers of the letter include: 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), Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Rob Portman (R-OH). 

The letter reads in full

Dear Mr. Attorney General: 

Like millions of Americans, we have read with increasing alarm reports of children being separated from their parents at the southern border. Although enforcing our immigration laws is an essential responsibility of the federal government, it must be done in a way that is consistent with our values and ordinary human decency. 

The current family separation crisis has multiple contributing causes, including court decisions that require release rather than detention of children but not parents who enter our country illegally. But 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 they are accompanied by minor children.

We support the administration’s efforts to enforce our immigration laws, but we cannot support implementation of a policy that results in the categorical forced separation of minor children from their parents. We therefore ask you to work with the relevant Administration officials to stop the separation of families pursuant to the Department’s zero tolerance policy while Congress works out a solution that enables faster processing of individuals who enter our country illegally. We believe a reasonable path forward can be found that accommodates the need to enforce our laws while holding true to other, equally essential values.