President Donald Trump traveled to Capitol Hill Tuesday evening to meet with Republican lawmakers to talk about immigration policy. And it's uncertain if Trump's support will be enough to push any legislation through the divided GOP majority.
While Trump held firm to his tough immigration stance in an earlier appearance Tuesday, he acknowledged during the closed-door meeting that the coverage of family separations is taking a toll.
"He said, 'Politically, this is bad, '" said Rep. Amid the political skirmish, things got skittish on the ground with some in your face confrontation between Trump minions and protestors.
The president has sought to link an end to the family separations to the passage of a wider bill on immigration, which would include funding for his long-sought border wall with Mexico, prompting Democrats to accuse him of using children as hostages. It is historic, with some countries the most risky places in the world. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, proposes increasing the number of immigration judges to expedite hearings at the border.
And that's precisely the way President Trump wants it. Previously, authorities typically kept migrant families together and routed them to immigration courts.
"'If you are smuggling a child, ' Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said, 'then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law".
US Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue said: "Thousands of children are being forcibly removed from their parents by our government. this is not who we are and it must stop now". To quote Trump himself, "We could have an immigration bill". She said it was a light moment.
The president huddled with House Republicans Tuesday afternoon. But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said the fix needs to begin with Trump. People advocating a legislative fix either don't understand that the president can immediately end his own policy or, more likely, are trying to give cover to Trump to keep carrying out the policy.
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The "Keep Families Together Act" would prevent DHS from separating children from their parents unless parental rights have been terminated, a child welfare agency has issued a best interest determination or officials have approved separation due to trafficking indicators or other concerns of risk to the child, according to lawmakers. Editorialists at the Wall Street Journal think so, but no USA jail that we know of allows children to stay with their parents behind bars.
In the Senate, meanwhile, Republicans are rallying behind a different approach.
Republicans in the Senate are supporting more narrow legislation that would let detained families stay together while expediting their deportation proceedings.
Later on Tuesday, after the Trumping meeting with the GOP House members, The Republican Main Street Caucus, chaired by Rep. Rodney Davis said in a statement, "Since the beginning of this debate, Main Street members have been committed to finding a permanent solution for DACA recipients and adequate funding for border security that will prevent risky drugs, illegal guns, and criminals from flowing through our country".
Holocaust survivor Yoka Verdoner was one of a growing chorus who have likened family separations to what happened at concentration camps.
"If there is a vote exclusively on a stand-alone bill on ending the policy of separating of parents and children at the border, Congressman LoBiondo would vote yes", spokesman Jason Galanes said.
Unaccompanied minors are also an issue for this administration, with the government confessing it had lost 1500 children placed in homes or foster families, prompting the viral hashtag #wherearethechildren?