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

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

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP confident of win on witnesses Republicans signal renewed confidence they'll avoid witness fight Trump's team rests, calls for quick end to trial 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 SessionsLawmaker wants Chinese news outlet to register as foreign agent Trump-aligned group launches ad campaign hitting Doug Jones on impeachment ICE subpoenas Denver law enforcement: 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 FlakeThe Hill's 12:30 Report: House managers to begin opening arguments on day two Flake: Republicans don't speak out against Trump 'because they want to keep their jobs' GOP senator calls CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' when asked about Parnas materials MORE (R-Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP confident of win on witnesses GOP Foreign Affairs leaders join pushback against potential troop drawdown in Africa Republicans signal renewed confidence they'll avoid witness fight MORE (R-S.C.) and Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense: White House threatens to veto House Iran bills | Dems 'frustrated' after Iran briefing | Lawmakers warn US, UK intel sharing at risk after Huawei decision White House Correspondents' Association blasts State for 'punitive action' against NPR Senate Democrat demands State Department reinstate NPR reporter on Pompeo trip MORE (D-Va.).