All five living first ladies — three Democrats and two Republicans — have criticized the White House's "zero-tolerance" policy, which has forced the separation of undocumented parents and children crossing the US border.
Here's what they said said:
"Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform," Trump's communications director, Stephanie Grisham, told CNN. "She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart."
Obama retweeted fellow former first lady Laura Bush's scathing column on the issue and added a message of support.
Bush wrote a harsh criticism of the policy in the Washington Post: "I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart."
Clinton told an audience of women in New York that separating families at the border is a “moral and humanitarian crisis." She said: “What is happening to families at the border is horrific, nursing infants being ripped away from their mothers, parents being told their toddlers are being taken to bathe or play only to realizes hours later they aren’t coming back, children incarcerated in warehouses and according to one account, kept in cages."
This statement was obtained by Kate Andersen Brower, who says Carter’s office is set to tweet it momentarily.
Carter released a statement through her office Monday: “When I was first lady, I worked to call attention to the plight of refugees fleeing Cambodia for Thailand. I visited Thailand and witnessed firsthand the trauma of parents and children separated by circumstances beyond their control. The practice and policy today of removing children from their parents’ care at our border with Mexico is disgraceful and a shame to our country."
Two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the Trump administration's practice of taking undocumented immigrant children from their families and putting them in government facilities on US borders, according to a CNN poll conducted by SSRS. Only 28% approve.
But not among Republicans: There is majority support for the policy that has resulted in an uptick of children being separated from their families.
The separations are the end result of the administration's "zero tolerance" policy of criminally charging people who cross the border illegally.
The new poll numbers follow harsh criticism that President Donald Trump and the Republican Party are receiving after implementing the new policy.
The Trump administration announced a new policy in May, saying authorities would criminally prosecute anyone who crosses the border illegally. The result: While they face prosecution, parents are now held in federal prisons -- where their children can't be held with them.
Previous administrations largely opted not to pursue criminal charges against people who crossed illegally with children, referring them instead mostly to immigration courts.
From CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet
Separating children from their parents is a “heartbreaking, barbaric issue that could be changed in a moment by the President of the United States rescinding his action, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in San Diego.
She said it “challenges the conscience of our country” and “must be changed immediately."
“We will be persisting in getting the information that we need to make sure the American people understand that their values are on the line,” the Congresswoman said.
New York state will not deploy the National Guard to the border, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday, citing the treatment of families at the border as a “moral outrage and an affront to the values that built this state and this nation.”
The New York news came just after Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s office announced that governor had directed his state's National Guard not to send any assets or personnel to the border, also citing the family separation issue.
Sen. Kamala Harris said that Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen should resign as outrage over the White House's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which has separated undocumented parents and children, grows.
Harris, a Democrat, sits on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which has oversight of DHS.
Here's her tweet:
Earlier today, Nielsen defended the immigration policy, saying, "We will not apologize for the job we do."
You can watch more of her comments in the video below:
Hillary Clinton told an audience of women in New York on Monday that separating families are the border is a “moral and humanitarian crisis” and that “every human being with a sense of compassion and decency should be outraged.”
Clinton also took on Trump directly, saying his argument that the separations are a result of the “Democrats law” is an “outright lie.”
“What is happening to families at the border is horrific, nursing infants being ripped away from their mothers, parents being told their toddlers are being taken to bathe or play only to realizes hours later they aren’t coming back, children incarcerated in warehouses and, according to one account, kept in cages,” Clinton said.
“You know, I warned about this during the debates and on the campaign trail, that Trump’s immigration policies would result in families being separated, and parents being sent away from the children, people being rounded up and loaded into trains and busses and now as we watch with broken hearts, that is exactly what is happening. And let’s be very clear, this is not happening because of the quote “Democrats law” as the White House has claimed. Separating families is not mandated by law at all. That is an outright lie.”
Clinton also slammed Trump to his tweets on Germany this morning, labeling them as the “President’s attempt today to stoke fear."
Former first lady Laura Bush has spoken out about the separation of families on the US border, writing a harsh criticism of the current zero-tolerance immigration policy being enforced under the Trump administration and tweeting that it was "immoral."
Former first lady Michelle Obama just retweeted Bush's tweet, adding, "Sometimes truth transcends party."
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is running for US Senate, blamed "many years of bi-partisan inaction" for the immigration policies prompting the separations of undocumented parents and kids. (The "zero-tolerance" policy was implemented by the Trump administration.)
"Let me be clear – I do not favor separating families. Washington is to blame for this by being all talk and no action, and the solution is to secure the border," Scott said in a statement.
Here's the full statement:
“What the country is witnessing right now is the byproduct of the many years of bi-partisan inaction and failure from our federal government. They have failed to secure our borders, which has resulted in this chaos. Let me be clear – I do not favor separating families. Washington is to blame for this by being all talk and no action, and the solution is to secure the border. Anyone seeking to enter our country illegally needs to be sent back, with the exception of those who are truly seeking asylum from an oppressive regime.”