McConnell backs bill to keep immigrant families together

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration GOP group's ad calls on Graham to push for election security: 'Are you still trying?' Harris keeps up 'little dude' attack on Trump after debate MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday announced his support for a bill to keep immigrant families detained at the border together.

“I support, and all of the senators of the Republican conference support, a plan that keeps families together,” McConnell told reporters.

ADVERTISEMENT
Republican lawmakers are scrambling to avert a public relations disaster as backlash grows in response to the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigration, which has seen thousands of children separated from their parents after their parents were detained over the past several weeks.
 
 
The GOP leader, however, argued against trying to add other immigration-related proposals to the measure.
 
“My assumption is in order to fix this problem you can’t fix all the problems,” McConnell said.
 

“I’m asking for a pause,” Hatch said. “I think we ought to pause and look at this very carefully.”

He also plans to call Trump in the next few days to make a personal appeal.

“When it comes to families, I don’t want people tampering with these families. These kids, they should be with their parents and I’m very upset with what’s happening here,” he said. 

Several Republican senators are working on legislation that would keep families together while they are undergoing prosecution for illegal immigration or waiting on asylum requests.

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Congress set to ignore Trump's wall request in stopgap measure Cruz: Texas will be 'hotly contested' in 2020 MORE (R-Texas), who is taking the lead, said the legislation could move as a stand-alone measure or be attached to the spending bill now under consideration on the floor. 

“We consider this an urgent matter. I think everybody has seen these terrible scenes of children being separated from their parents and wants to try to come up with a solution,” he told reporters. 

Cornyn and his allies rolled out a plan during a lunch meeting Tuesday that would require that families be kept together in a humane setting and put them at the “head of the line” to see a judge if they have a request for asylum or other legal claim to be admitted to the country. 

Cornyn said he hoped “this is something we could do in a matter of days. 

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Houston debate Ted Cruz says he hopes to 'run again' for White House Conservatives offer stark warning to Trump, GOP on background checks MORE (R-Texas) will introduce his own bill later in the week that would double the number of federal immigration judges and mandate that immigrant families be kept together unless they are accused of aggravated illegal conduct. 

His proposal would also authorize new shelters to keep those families together. 

“We need to fix the problem and hope that we do,” he said. “I’ve engaged in ongoing conversations with my colleagues, including Sen. Cornyn.”