Published: Mon, June 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

White House divided: Melania breaks ranks with Trump on immigration

White House divided: Melania breaks ranks with Trump on immigration

Speaking on the CBS news show "Face the Nation", Sunday morning, the Republican also said the numbers of children who have been separated so far might exceed the almost 2,000 figure earlier reported.

Department of Homeland Security figures obtained by The Associated Press on Friday showed that 1,995 minors were separated from 1,940 adults between April 19 and May 31.

Part of that approach has been separating children from their parents who are detained. "Zero tolerance, it's a crime to come across illegally, and children get separated".

Former First Lady Laura Bush, the wife of former Republican President George W Bush, wrote an editorial in the Washington Post newspaper, in which she said the policy of zero tolerance "breaks her heart".

Administration officials had begun making preparations to hold immigrant children on military bases. "That's traumatising to the children who are innocent victims, and it is contrary to our values in this country".

Named the 'Keep Families Together Act', the bill, if passed, would ban the separation of a child from a parent or guardian unless there was a risk of abuse or neglect stemming from the parent's custody of the child.

The letter cites multiple instances where families seeking asylum were separated, despite the administration's assurances that wasn't the case. But though she is critical of the Trump administration, Collins was also critical of a Democratic effort led by Sen. Ted Cruz, said the process of separating families is 'inhumane'.

"We should not give up", Collins said.

"They call is zero tolerance", Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley said.

Trump plans to meet with House Republicans on Tuesday to discuss pending immigration legislation amid an election-season debate over an issue that helped vault the NY real estate mogul into the Oval Office in 2016.

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During an appearance on Meet the Press earlier in the day, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway applied the same tactic. Yet scuttling the bill could turn off independent voters, an especially important bloc for House Republicans competing in dozens of districts that Democrat Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 presidential election.

A new Trump administration policy, which went into effect in May, sought to maximise criminal prosecutions of people caught trying to enter the USA illegally.

Family separations had been reported in previous administrations but activists say the numbers then were very small.

The event in the city of Elizabeth came as news stories highlighting the family separations intensified political pressure on the White House, even from some of President Donald Trump's fellow Republicans. The president has been anything but conciliatory on the matter.

Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-N.Y.), appearing Sunday on CNN, noted that former attorney general Alberto Gonzales had spoken about how the administration has "discretion" at the border - concluding that "clearly this government, this president, is using his discretion" to separate families.

Democrats have refused to consent to the border wall or restrictions to legal immigration Trump has demanded, and instead, hope to block family separations with standalone legislation.

Democrat Adam Schiff said the government was "using the grief, the tears, the pain of these kids as mortar to build our wall".

Trump's comments stifled negotiations in Congress, as lawmakers believed he was referring to a compromise bill released Thursday that was the product of weeks of negotiations between conservatives, moderate Republicans, and GOP leaders. "I'd like to say it's un-American, but it's happening right now in America".

Then there is her assertion that any solution on immigration should be bipartisan, which stands in contrast with the current strategy in the House, which is to forge legislation that can pass on Republican votes alone.

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