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Bill Clinton blasts family separation: 'Children should not be bargaining chips'

Bill Clinton blasts family separation: 'Children should not be bargaining chips'
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Former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonPresident Trump’s job approval rating continues to hold steady in latest Hill.TV poll Cybersecurity for national defense: How many 'wake-up calls' does it take? Who's in control alters our opinion of how things are MORE this week slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing MORE's "zero tolerance" policy that resulted in separating families at the border, saying that "children should not be bargaining chips." 

“Taking these kids away from their parents makes no sense,” Clinton said Thursday at an event for his new book in Chicago, according to CNN. “It’s wrong. It’s immoral. It’s not required by the law. And it’s not necessary to protect the border. It’s just wrong."

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He added that “children should not be bargaining chips," and that "they are people."

"I not only want this to stop, I want them to go get these kids that have already been sent away and give them back to their parents and do it right now," he said.

Clinton's condemnation of the policy comes two days after the president signed an executive order to end a policy that resulted in thousands of children being separated from their parents. It is not yet clear how or when the families already divided under the policy will be reunited. The administration began implementing the policy widely in April.

Trump signed the order after facing increasing pressure from Republican and Democratic lawmakers. Former presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMueller's team asking Manafort about Roger Stone: report O'Rourke targets Cruz with several attack ads a day after debate GOP pollster says polls didn't pick up on movement in week before 2016 election MORE was one of the many people to criticize the policy and Trump's defense of it earlier this week. 

“Separating families is not mandated by law at all. That is an outright lie," she said. "It’s incumbent on all of us, journalists and citizens alike, to call it just that.”

Many lawmakers continue to question the Trump administration over the policy. On Thursday, Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Trump travels to hurricane-ravaged Florida, Georgia Dems eye ambitious agenda if House flips Schiff: There is legal precedent for impeaching sitting officials over prior criminal conduct MORE (D-Calif.) tweeted that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTucker Carlson says he 'can't really' dine out anymore because people keep yelling at him Top Judiciary Dems call for unredacted 'zero tolerance' memo The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Dem path to a Senate majority narrows MORE privately told lawmakers that despite Trump signing an executive order, the practice of separating families could continue. 

Trump has repeatedly insisted this week that Congress enact broad immigration reform that includes heightened border security. The House intends to vote on a compromise immigration bill next week and has already rejected a hard-line immigration bill.