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.”
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, signed an executive order limiting use of state resources "to separate children from parents or legal guardians on sole ground of immigration status."
“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s policy and practice of separating children from their parents when arriving at the southern border is offensive to our core values as Coloradans and as a country,” the executive order states.
Hickenlooper also sent Congressional leaders a letter urging they take action that would stop the policy.
Human rights group Amnesty International blasted the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents as "a spectacularly cruel policy" that has produced images which will "leave an indelible stain on the reputation of the USA."
Here's a statement from Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas director:
"This is a spectacularly cruel policy, where frightened children are being ripped from their parent’s arms and taken to overflowing detention centers, which are effectively cages. This is nothing short of torture. The severe mental suffering that officials have intentionally inflicted on these families for coercive purposes, means that these acts meet the definitions of torture under both US and international law."
House Republicans are planning to vote this week on two immigration proposals: One more conservative bill and another one drafted with moderates.
The bills, which were set in motion before the family separation issue hit center stage, are about another politically polarizing issue: recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
But now, it appears that both bills will address the issue of family separation, as well.
CNN previously reported that the compromise immigration bill would include language to address family separation at the border.
A House GOP source says the Goodlatte immigration bill (the hardline, conservative bill) will also address family separation.
Now, both bills will have provisions that would allow families to stay together, while still in Department of Homeland Security custody. Drafters are looking at how to keep families together in Department of Justice custody as well.
Here's how one House GOP source put it:
"The drafts of both bills clarify the Flores Settlement by ensuring accompanied alien minors apprehended at the border can remain with their parent or legal guardian while in DHS custody. Drafters are also working to include a provision that not only addresses DHS custody but DOJ custody as well. Note that bill text hasn’t yet been filed for either."