Manchin becomes final Democrat to back bill preventing separation of immigrant families
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinManchin says he won't support LGBTQ protection bill as written Senators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law Murkowski, Manchin call for 'responsible solutions' to climate change MORE (D-W.Va.) said on Monday that he will back legislation to prevent the separation of immigrant families along the border, solidifying Democratic support for the bill.

Manchin's decision means all 49 members of the Democratic caucus, which includes independent Sens. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersAlan Dershowitz: In defense of Chelsea Clinton O'Rourke: Decisions on late-term abortions 'best left to a woman and her doctor' CNN to host town hall with Cory Booker in South Carolina MORE (Vt.) and Angus KingAngus Stanley KingOvernight Defense: Senate rejects border emergency in rebuke to Trump | Acting Pentagon chief grilled on wall funding | Warren confronts chief over war fund budget Shanahan grilled on Pentagon's border wall funding Senators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law MORE (Maine), are signing on to the legislation.

“As a father, grandfather, and Christian, I am wholeheartedly opposed to any policy that allows innocent children to be separated from their parents as they enter our country," Manchin said in a statement.

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"No law requires pulling children from the arms of their parents," he added.

The legislation, spearheaded by Democratic Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGOP rep to introduce constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court seats to 9 Senate Dems petition Saudi king to release dissidents, US citizen Court-packing becomes new litmus test on left MORE (Calif.), would only allow children to be separated from a parent if they are being abused, trafficked or if a court decides "it is in the best interests of the child."

As of late last week, it had the support of 43 senators in the caucus. Five more red-state Democrats — Sens. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillLobbying world Dem candidate has Hawley served subpoena at CPAC Annual scorecard ranks GOP environmental efforts far below Dems in 2018 MORE (Mo.), Doug Jones (Ala.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSanders, Ocasio-Cortez back 'end the forever war' pledge Dems wrestle over how to vote on ‘Green New Deal’ White House pleads with Senate GOP on emergency declaration MORE (Mont.), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyOvernight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary EPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks MORE (Ind.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampAnnual scorecard ranks GOP environmental efforts far below Dems in 2018 Overnight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (N.D.) — announced over the weekend they would sign on to the bill, leaving Manchin as the last remaining holdout.

Manchin, McCaskill, Tester, Donnelly and Heitkamp are running for states easily won by Trump during the 2016 election.

The Feinstein bill, however, faces an unlikely, uphill climb in a GOP-controlled Congress, despite growing backlash over the Trump administration's policies that are resulting in the separation of immigrant families at the border.

No Republican senator has said they will support Feinstein's bill, which would need 60 votes to clear the Senate.

Manchin added on Monday that the United States needs to "secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws" and that he's talking with GOP lawmakers about broader legislation.

"I am actively working with my Republican colleagues to find solutions to the issues that are not addressed" in Feinstein's bill, he said. "I continue to believe that the comprehensive 2013 immigration bill that included 700 miles of fencing, an addition 20,000 border control agents and other measures to secure our border is where we should begin this process."