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

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

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsKlain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' Overnight Health Care: Johnson & Johnson vaccine safe, effective in FDA analysis | 3-4 million doses coming next week | White House to send out 25 million masks Biden's picks face peril in 50-50 Senate 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 SessionsManchin flexes muscle in 50-50 Senate Udalls: Haaland criticism motivated 'by something other than her record' Ocasio-Cortez targets Manchin over Haaland confirmation 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 FlakeKlain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' Tanden's path to confirmation looks increasingly untenable On The Money: What's next for Neera Tanden's nomination MORE (R-Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamPassage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy Progressive support builds for expanding lower courts McConnell backs Garland for attorney general MORE (R-S.C.) and Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democrats in standoff over minimum wage Democrats plan crackdown on rising drug costs MORE (D-Va.).