U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Alabama, announced Sunday that he would co-sponsor a piece of legislation that will prohibit the separation of immigrant families at the southern border, which would halt the controversial practice by the Trump Administration.
The legislation, S.3036, the Keep Families Together Act, was introduced by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
The legislation would prevent the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency from taking children from their parents at the border.
“The Administration’s new policy of ripping apart families by separating innocent children from their parents is completely contrary to our core American values,” Jones said. “As I’ve said, I have been looking at every possible option to stop this policy, to include Senator Feinstein’s legislation. While I plan to sign onto that legislation this week, we have to recognize that it is only a first step and does not offer any long-term solutions to the underlying problems.”
The Trump Administration began implementing a “zero tolerance” immigrating policy, beginning the practice of separating families at the border as a way of discouraging immigrants from unlawfully entering the U.S.
Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama refused to embrace the policy, which has been considered for years as a “nuclear option,” on the grounds that the practice would be too inhumane and politically unpopular. However, Trump embraced the practice as a way to deter illegal border crossings. Despite low levels of immigration for more than a decade, numbers sometimes spike and have remained comparatively high in recent months, prompting the administration to implement the policy.
As the policy went into place, it has received a harsh reaction from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
“This cruel policy needs to end now but we need workable solutions that can address this specific problem long-term,” Jones said. “While we all wish it were true, there is no easy fix for the underlying problem. That’s why I am also joining my colleagues to call for Senate hearings on this issue as soon as possible so we can better understand what a lasting resolution could look like for these families and negate the detrimental impact to these children.”