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

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

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate finalizes .2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Schumer: Democrats 'on track' to pass bipartisan deal, .5T budget 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 SessionsWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Democrat stalls Biden's border nominee Garland strikes down Trump-era immigration court rule, empowering judges to pause cases 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 FlakeBiden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots MORE (R-Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions GOP skepticism looms over bipartisan spending deal Graham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate MORE (R-S.C.) and Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineThis week: Senate starts infrastructure sprint Overnight Defense: Watchdog blasts government's handling of Afghanistan conflict | Biden asks Pentagon to look into mandatory vaccines | Congress passes new Capitol security bill GOP, Democrats battle over masks in House, Senate MORE (D-Va.).