GOP senator: Family separation policy 'inconsistent' with American values

GOP senator: Family separation policy 'inconsistent' with American values
© Greg Nash

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate GOP poised to go 'nuclear' on Trump picks Overnight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all Dem group launches ads attacking Trump's 'hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts' MORE (R-Maine) said Sunday she does not support a Trump administration policy that has resulted in the separation of families who cross the border illegally, calling it “inconsistent” with American values. 

Collins said she’s still waiting to hear from the Trump administration with more information on the practice. However, she said it’s already known that separating migrant children from their parents “doesn’t act as deterrent” and “is inconsistent with our American values.”

“What the administration has decided to do is to separate children from their parents to try to send a message that if you cross the border with children your children are going to be ripped away from you,” she said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

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“That is traumatizing to children who are innocent victims,” she added.

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMueller's investigation ends, but divisive political circus will continue Mueller delivers report to Justice, ending investigation Trump says 'people will not stand' for Mueller report MORE announced earlier this year that the Justice Department would enact a "zero tolerance" policy and aggressively prosecute adults attempting to cross the U.S.–Mexico border illegally. At the time, Sessions acknowledged the process could lead to children being separated from their parents upon being apprehended.

Trump administration officials have repeatedly defended the policy, arguing that it acts as a deterrent against illegal immigration.

Democrats and Republicans, however, have spoken out against the practice.

The ongoing fight over the family separation policy shouldn't detract from the need to enact comprehensive reforms, Collins argued.

"That’s not to say we shouldn’t act to try to curb illegal immigration. We should and I support the president’s proposals for border security," Collins said.

"But we know from years of experience that we need to fix our immigration laws and that using children is not the answer,” she added.

Collins suggested the Senate should vote again on legislation it rejected in February that would have addressed border security and the fate of some immigrants in the country illegally.

Collins supported that bill, along with Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump's attacks on McCain exacerbate tensions with Senate GOP Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar Trump keeps tight grip on GOP MORE (R-Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRomney helps GOP look for new path on climate change Dem senator: 'Appropriate' for Barr, Mueller to testify publicly about Russia probe Conservatives wage assault on Mueller report MORE (R-S.C.) and Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineWhy do so many Democrats embrace hate speech? Dem senator wants Trump to extend immigration protections to Venezuelans Pentagon sends Congress list of projects that could lose funds to Trump's emergency declaration MORE (D-Va.).