SALT LAKE CITY — Outrage over the separation of families at the U.S./Mexico border continues to spread across the United States, as politicians look for answers.
“The (Trump) administration’s horrible ‘zero tolerance’ policy has unnecessarily separated children from their parents, and I firmly oppose it,” Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, said in a statement Monday. “This is not a partisan issue; it’s an issue of right or wrong.”
Mia Love & Stewart–you ready to STOP this? ICE and Homeland Security have proposed a detention facility in Salt Lake City!
“DHS, U.S. Immigration and ICE are officially asking for sites to be located in Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul, & SALT LAKE CITY” #utpol pic.twitter.com/EDQCkwV1d9
— Jim Dabakis (@JimDabakis) June 18, 2018
Love said she and other House Republicans expect to meet with President Donald Trump on Tuesday to discuss legislation that will tackle Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals children and increased border security.
“You can be assured that I will continue to work toward real solutions that reflect Utah’s values,” she said.
Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, took a defensive approach to the border separation, telling the Deseret News the policy is one that went into effect before President Donald Trump took office.
“But even though that’s the case, many of us are very uncomfortable with it,” Stewart said. “I’ve been saying for a long time that we have to find the answer for it.”
It is inhumane to forcefully and unnecessarily separate children from their parents. Let’s get past the blaming and shaming, halt this cruel policy, and find common sense federal legislative solutions. #FamiliesBelongTogether #utpol
— Gov. Gary Herbert (@GovHerbert) June 18, 2018
Stewart’s answer: Outfit all prospective adult immigrants with GPS anklets.
“If we allowed the parents of these children to wear an ankle bracelet, that would allow them to stay together as families, but at the same time, we would know where they were,” he said.
ABC reports an official with the Department of Homeland Security told reporters last week that almost 2,000 migrant children were pulled from adults between April 19 and May 31 after they were caught trying to illegally cross the border.
In some cases, photos show the children’s detention centers are made of chain-link fencing. In other situations, national reports show children are housed in old warehouses or stores.
“You have families approaching the border. When they are apprehended at the border, we can’t just catch and release them like we were doing before. But the federal courts don’t allow you to keep a child in detention for more than 20 days,” Stewart said. “That’s the complicated fact we are trying to work through.”
Stewart said he is working on support in Washington, D.C., for a bill that would allow for GPS ankle bracelets to replace the detention centers, but said it was too early in the process to gauge reaction.
In a separate phone call with Deseret News, Shireen Ghorbani, a Democratic candidate for Stewart’s House seat, said she supports the incumbent’s idea.
“Keeping families together is my absolute top priority,” she said. “If it is a proposal where we are using different kinds of technology to be able to keep families together, it is definitely a step in the right direction.”
In a statement Monday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also called for immediate action to reunite the children with their parents.
“We are deeply troubled by the aggressive and insensitive treatment of these families. While we recognize the right of all nations to enforce their laws and secure their borders, we encourage our national leaders to take swift action to correct this situation and seek for rational, compassionate solutions,” LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins said.
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